Ethnography on Isolation Unit for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Focusing on Patients

조혈모세포이식 병동에 관한 문화기술지: 환자를 중심으로

  • Received : 2008.08.08
  • Accepted : 2009.02.05
  • Published : 2009.02.28


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to understand how patients experience everyday life in an isolation unit for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Method: The data were collected from 25 patients with HSCT at the isolation unit from January to March in 2008 in one general hospital in Korea. The data were collected by participant observations and ethnographic interviews and were analyzed using ethnographic method. Results: Four themes regarding environmental area emerged: 'barrier pulling up the drawbridge', 'very strange world', 'small and restricted space tied by IV and other treatment lines', and 'loud noise in a silent space.' Three themes regarding patients emerged: 'facing fear and anxiety', 'continuation of loneliness and lethargy', and 'compromising with a very long, dull, and boring time'. These themes describe how patients with HSCT suffer from continuous physical and psychosocial problems in a confined space, while endeavoring to control these problems and to search for hope for a new life. Conclusion: The results of the study provide an in-depth understanding of the experience and culture of patients in an isolation unit for HSCT. They would be used in developing practical programs to decrease patient's culture shock including fear and anxiety at isolation unit for HSCT.


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