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The power of hope: patients’ experiences of hope a year after acute spinal cord injury


  • Vibeke Lohne MNSc, RNT,

  • Elisabeth Severinsson MCSc, RPN, RNT, DrPH

Vibeke Lohne
Løkkalia 4
N-0783 Oslo
Telephone: +47 22453796


Aims and objectives.  The aim of this present study was to explore patients’ experiences of the meaning they attribute to hope and hoping a year after acute spinal cord injury.

Background.  Nursing literature is pointing towards the importance of having hope for a healthful living. However, the concept of hope has preliminarily been defined in an abstract and general way and is therefore difficult to grasp.

Design and methods.  This qualitative study has a longitudinal and descriptive–explorative design. Data were collected by personal interviews (n = 10) one year after acute spinal cord injury. A phenomenological–hermeneutic approach, based on the philosophy of Ricoeur, was used to extract the essences of the patients’ experiences.

Results.  The findings resulted in one main interpretation: ‘The Power of Hope’, and two sub-themes: ‘Will, Faith and Hope’ and ‘Hoping, Struggling and Growing’. The power of hope was interpreted as the individual having experienced the meaning a year after the injury, mainly expressed through will power.

Conclusions.  This study shows that experiences of hope were important to all participants, providing energy and power to the process of struggling because hope is necessary for further progress and personal development.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Nursing interventions should be mainly directed towards emotional and motivational strategies to promote the will power and personal growth through learning experiences.