Problem Identification: To systematically review qualitative evidence regarding patients’ experiences of living with multiple myeloma. The main objective was to gain structured understanding of this experience, which is a prerequisite for advancing nursing care and ensuring it is effective.
Literature Search: Qualitative research articles from January 2005 to March 2016 were located in CINAHL®, PubMed, and Scopus. Supplementary resources were found by scrutinizing reference lists and performing citation tracking. All included articles fulfilled predetermined criteria.
Data Evaluation: Three reviewers independently assessed the risk of methodologic bias by using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument. The JBI methodology of meta-aggregation was used to synthesize findings.
Synthesis: Eleven studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria. From these, 84 findings were extracted. Each finding was assigned a level of credibility: unequivocal, credible, or unsupported. Findings were grouped into 11 subcategories and synthesized further into four main categories: (a) distress, (b) a different body, (c) coping, and (d) contributions of other people.
Conclusions: Patients with myeloma require a different form of follow-up compared to patients with many other cancers because of its chronic nature. Results demonstrate that widespread physical, emotional, and social challenges were experienced by patients throughout their illness trajectories, even in periods of remission. Nursing care should incorporate knowledge of patients’ experiences.
Implications for Practice: The results provide directions for nurses to improve supportive strategies in the care of patients with multiple myeloma. The categories provide a useful framework for developing clinical assessment tools.