Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing MNurs


Faculty of Nursing and Health



First Advisor

Gwen Behrens


111003 Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)


The following paper takes the form of a research proposal that seeks to examine the lived experience of acute care nurses following possible exposure to the HIV/AIDS virus in their working environment. The paper explores the characteristics of qualitative research and offers the phenomenological research design of Helen Streubert as the base methodology for the study. The paper justifies the choice of design by giving account of it's suitability to the study of the acute care nurses' lived experience when potentially exposed to HIV/AIDS. A detailed explanation of Streubert's design is offered along with a description of the method that would be followed in order to obtain the study's objectives.

A preliminary literature review is offered in an attempt to explain some of the effects that potential exposure to HIV/AIDS has on nurses. The paper offers some insight as to the transmissibility of HIV/AIDS and details some common fears, attitudes and coping mechanisms which nurses possess when confronted with the HIV/AIDS issue. The psychology behind nurses' fears and attitudes is explored along with the need for nurse managers to consider such psychology before attempting to change nurses attitudes and values. It is surmised that an understanding of nurses fears, attitudes and coping mechanisms in relation to HIV/AIDS, will give some insight as to the lived experience of acute care nurses following possible exposure to the HIV/AIDS virus in the working environment.

The paper briefly examines some of the advances that have been made in the areas of information, counselling and health agency policy in relation to nurses and possible HIV/AIDS exposure. The paper also seeks to explain how these topics can effect the lived experience of nurses following the possibility of exposure to HIV/AIDS. The need for comprehensive educational programs by nurse managers and educators, which give consideration to the education, counselling and policy requirements of acute care nurses, is highlighted in order to assist such acute care nurses through their lived experience. Further justification of the need for the proposed study is highlighted by the fact that there is very little literature available, which deals with nurses' lived experience, following possible exposure to HIV/AIDS in their working environment.

The paper offers some suggestions, based on the preliminary literature review, as to what the possible findings of this research may be. It is hoped that defining and explaining the lived experience of nurses, following possible exposure to HIV/AIDS in the working environment, by utilising a phenomenological study of this type, would result in a better understanding of what the nurses' lived experience entails. This understanding may therefore assist acute care nurses to have their needs met more effectively, following a period of possible exposure to HIV/AIDS at work.


A print copy of this thesis is held in the Avondale College Library (Sydney SC 363.15019792 BRO).

Every effort has been made to contact the author of this thesis to gain their permission. If the author objects to this thesis being online please email

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