caregivers, hurricanes, Parse's, perseverance, phenomenology, research method, traumatic event



  1. Kruse, Barbara G. ARNP, PhD


People who struggle daily to care for a loved one have many unique challenges that require them to persevere on a regular basis. Adding the stress of caregiving during a hurricane brings the meaning of perseverance to a new level of awareness. This is especially true for caregivers of persons with such illnesses as Alzheimer's and dementia. The primary aim of this qualitative investigation was to increase understanding of the experience of perseverance within the context of exposure to a traumatic event, such as a hurricane. The need to study the meaning of the phenomenon emerged from the uncommon occurrence of four hurricanes in southwest Florida over a period of less than 2 months. Residents' lives were disrupted not only by these hurricanes but also by displacement and loss through illness and disability. Eight female caregivers were recruited from the Center for Positive Aging and were asked to describe the meaning of perseverance. Discussions were tape recorded, transcribed, and interpreted by the researcher. Results indicated that the structure of the meaning of perseverance is this: struggling cautiously through the challenge while relying on others guides a focus toward the future. These findings stress the importance of keeping hopes and dreams alive and visualizing life "after the storm." Nurses are challenged to find ways to support families during crises, including the hurricane activities in southwest Florida. A better understanding of what it means to persevere will enable nurses to recognize its presence and provide the support needed for caregivers.