Objective: To describe the experiences of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) when admitted to hospital.
Methods: A selected sample of 9 women with RA of at least 3 years duration, who had experienced at least 5 days of inpatient care within the previous 2 years, underwent unstructured interviews in this qualitative, phenomenological study. Information from the interviews was analyzed using Colaizzi's 6 procedural steps.
Results: Five major themes emerged from the study: uncertainty during the first admission to hospital; the process of becoming an experienced patient on subsequent admissions; the evident experience and knowledge of staff; the effect, both positive and negative, of other patients; and the loss of privacy.
Conclusion: These findings throw important new light on the experience of patients with RA receiving inpatient rheumatologic care and have the potential to significantly advance nursing practice within rheumatology.