Patient readmission for orthopaedic surgical site infection: an
hermeneutic phenomenological approach
Lilian Machado Torres, Ruth Natalia Teresa Turrini and Miriam Aparecida Barbosa Merighi
Aim and objective. To explore the individual experience of being readmitted for
surgical site infection resulting from orthopaedic surgery.
Background. Surgical site infection has been a cause of concern worldwide and con-
tributes to the greatest number of hospital readmission occurrences. Health profes-
sionals must understand the meaning of these readmissions for the individual, as an
understanding of these exclusive experiences improves the quality of surgical care.
Design. Qualitative research based on the existential phenomenology of Martin
Method. Eleven individuals who were readmitted because of surgical site infec-
tion participated in the study. The testimonials were obtained over an 11-month
period in 2014–2015 based on the following leading question: What has it been
like for you to be readmitted because of orthopaedic surgical site infection? The
phenomenological analysis identified the sentiment units of the testimonials and
their interrelation, revealing the meanings.
Results. The revealed contents were fear and insecurity of the unknown, frustra-
tion, and the sense of time passing them by and being unable to live their lives.
The individuals felt neglected, and they experienced their social relationality as
impaired and sometimes approaching a breakdown. The patients connected with
God as an attempt to avoid complications and death.
Conclusion. We urge healthcare professionals to deepen their knowledge of the
dimensions of care by developing competencies that consider the subjectivity of
experiences of the health–disease process. When the only listening that takes place
is qualified listening, the professional’s attitudes compromise his or her ability to
provide true care, which transcends the knowledge of doing and reaches the
knowledge of doing with sensitivity.
Relevance to clinical practice. Nursing care requires an attitude that considers the
patient as more than a carrier of illness and should not be limited to what is
described and prescribed, although the latter cannot be excluded in an organisa-
tional point of view.
What does this paper contribute
to the wider global clinical
• Professionals should develop com-
petencies for searching for what is
not shown in terms of patients’
experiences with the health–disease
process. Such competencies tran-
scend ‘knowing how to do’ to
achieve ‘knowing how to do with
• Permanent pedagogic and educa-