The Effects of Religious and Cultural Beliefs on Muslim Transplant Candidates During the Pretransplant Waiting Period

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Abstract

Background:

Awaiting organ transplantation can be stressful, and pretransplant candidates' religious and cultural beliefs can influence how they adapt to the stress. While little is known about the effect religious and cultural beliefs have on the pretransplant waiting period, virtually nothing is known regarding whether and how Shia Muslim patients' religious and cultural beliefs facilitate more positive patient outcomes while they await transplantation. Therefore, it is important for nurses and other health care providers to understand transplant candidates' experiences dealing with the stressors that present themselves during the pretransplant waiting period, especially how their religious and cultural beliefs affect their adaptation to the stressors.

Aim:

The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of Shia Muslim organ transplant candidates regarding how their religious and cultural beliefs affect their adaptation to the pretransplant waiting period.

Sample:

A purposeful sample of 11 Shia Muslim organ transplant candidates who were on an organ transplant waiting list in Iran (kidney, n = 4; heart, n = 4; liver, n = 3) was recruited.

Method:

A qualitative research design using the hermeneutical phenomenological approach was utilized in this study. In-depth unstructured interviews were conducted by one of the authors (ZS) in different locations across Iran.

Results:

Data analysis led to the development of six themes: “the misty road of organ transplantation,” “to accede to organ transplantation despite religious conflict,” “one step away from death,” “the master key of liberation,” “fear of the unknown,” and “reliance on God.”

Nursing Implications:

The findings of this study will help nurses understand the religious and cultural meaning associated with stressors experienced by Shia Muslim patients awaiting organ transplant. This information can assist nurses to develop plans of care that include patient-specific interventions that take into consideration the patients' religious and cultural beliefs.

Conclusion:

Shia Muslim patients awaiting organ transplantation experience feelings that are often in conflict with their religious and cultural beliefs. However, the patients' reliance on God during the pretransplant waiting period facilitated healthier attitudes regarding transplantation.

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