Purpose/Objectives: To understand the experiences of women having same-day breast cancer surgery and make recommendations to assist healthcare professionals effect change to enhance quality of care.
Research Approach: Thematic analysis of audiotaped interviews.
Setting: Outpatient departments of two city hospitals on the east coast of Canada.
Participants: Purposive sample of 13 women who had undergone same-day breast cancer surgery.
Methodologic Approach: A constructivist approach with in-depth interviews and comparative analysis to develop and systemically organize data into four major interrelated themes and a connecting essential thread.
Main Research Variables: Women's experiences with same-day breast cancer surgery.
Findings: The themes of preparation, timing, supports, and community health nursing intervention were of paramount importance for effective coping and recovery. Women who had a positive experience with same-day breast cancer surgery also reported having adequate preparation, appropriate timing of preparation, strong support systems, and sufficient community health nursing intervention. Those reporting a negative experience encountered challenges in one or more of the identified theme areas.
Conclusions: Same-day surgery is a sign of the times, and the approach to it is changing. Healthcare systems need to be responsive to such changes. Although same-day surgery for breast cancer is not suitable for every patient, women undergoing this type of surgery should be assessed individually to determine whether it is appropriate for them.
Interpretation: Women undergoing breast cancer surgery should be screened for same-day surgery suitability. Those having same-day breast cancer surgery should be prepared adequately with timely education. Most importantly, such women should receive community health nursing follow-up for assessment, continuing education, and psychosocial support.