Aim. The purpose of this study was to explore the process of living kidney donation as experienced by husbands of donors to aid nurses and all members of the health care team in promoting informed consent for those considering living donation and to promote the well being of spouses of living donors, donors and their families.
Background. The attitudes of husbands of living kidney donors may affect their decision to donate and satisfaction with recovery from donation surgery, thus it is critical to know how husbands of living kidney donors view kidney donation.
Methods. Eleven male spouses of living kidney donors were interviewed three months following their wife's donation. Grounded theory methodology was used to inaugurate a substantive theory that describes living kidney donation and its impact on the spousal relationship and family, as experienced by the husband of a donor.
Results. The result of the data analysis was a substantive theory pertaining strictly to the husbands’ experiences as the spouse of the living kidney donor. The process commenced with scheduling of the living donation followed by the postoperative time frame, including bringing the donor wife home. The core variable, ‘Fulfilling Your Vows’, described attitudes, behaviours and actions that guided husbands in successfully and generously caring for their wives, their families, the recipients and themselves throughout the living kidney donation process and continuing ‘to this day’.
Relevance to clinical practice. The substantive theory of ‘Fulfilling Your Vows’ will guide nurses and other transplant specialists in helping to improve fully informed consent of potential donors before surgery and in developing supportive strategies to maximize spouse, donor and family outcomes throughout the transplantation process.