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The role of professional nurses in promoting a healthy self-esteem in hospitalised, pregnant women with HIV/AIDS in a maternity unit in a public hospital in Cape Town
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In the fight against the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), one of the aspects to be taken into consideration is the self-esteem of pregnant women. Professional nurses in maternity settings need to support pregnant women, with a focus on providing balanced care to meet all of the women’s needs and build their self-esteem. Self-esteem reflects one’s subjective emotional evaluation of one’s worth. A decrease in the self-esteem of the individual with HIV/AIDS infections is common and professional nurses should advise patients on the appropriate ways to deal with HIV/AIDS. A supportive environment for HIV/AIDS women could enhance their self-esteem. The researcher overheard HIV/AIDS positive patients in a maternity unit express their feelings of worthlessness and wondered how he could support them to have self-worth. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the role of professional nurses in promoting a healthy self-esteem in hospitalised, pregnant women with HIV/AIDS in a maternity unit in a public hospital in Cape Town. The study was qualitative in nature, departing from assumptions of the theoretical framework of Eric Erikson. An exploratory, descriptive, contextual, qualitative design was followed when the semi-structured interviews were conducted. The accessible population comprised of 15 professional nurses working at the maternity unit. Purposive sampling was used to obtain a sample of 11 professional nurses (participants) working in a maternity unit who met the eligibility criteria. Individual interviews were conducted with eight participants as a starting point until data saturation was reached. After obtaining permission from the necessary authorities, the researcher visited the manager of the unit. Two pilot individual interviews were conducted to determine whether the research questions were understood. The researcher explained the purpose and information on the information sheet and obtained informed consent. Interviews lasted 45 minutes were conducted in a private room and recorded. The researcher used an interview schedule and made field notes while conducting the interviews. Data triangulation of the interviews and field notes ware done. Thematic analysis coding was applied to analyse data. Trustworthiness was ensured through credibility, transferability, dependability and conformability. The following ethical principles of privacy, the right to withdraw and anonymity were followed. The findings indicated HIV/AIDS-related stigma as the main cause of a poor self-esteem among pregnant women with HIV/AIDS. Participants furthermore felt that there is a need for training and skills development of professional nurses to enable them to understand how to support HIV/AIDS pregnant women and enhance their self-esteem. It was concluded that professional nurses should support pregnant women with HIV/AIDS places a socio-economic burden on societies and has set the world into spending millions on healthcare settings in an attempt to curb the disease.