heuristic design, nursing, qualitative methods, self-transcendence, suffering



  1. Wayman, Lisa M. RN, CNS
  2. Gaydos, H. Lea Barbato PhD, RN


Self-transcending through suffering was examined using a heuristic research design. Four coresearchers who self-identified as self-transcending through suffering were interviewed. The interviews were analyzed for themes, with the researcher biases made explicitly apparent. The themes of self-transcendence developed in this study were turning point, change, gratitude, humility, and elemental experience. The subthemes of turning point were pause, confrontation, surrender, extraordinary experiences, and touchstones. The subthemes of change were valuing life, unfolding wholeness, and meaningful work. Identification of patterns in self-transcending through suffering adds to the understanding of the human health experience. These results may be used to help nurses understand this experience in patients. Greater understanding may lead to the nurse's increased ability to facilitate the opportunity for self-transcending.