Constructivist Grounded Theory: Experiences of Physicians-Intensivists during Withdrawing of Mechanical Ventilation


In 2011, I completed a dissertation thesis where I investigated physicians-intensivists’ experiences with patients’ family members during the withdrawing of mechanical ventilations in an intensive care unit. Previous research examined physicians’ experiences during the provision of end-of-life care; however, none of these studies provided an in-depth overview of the physicians-intensivists’ experiences during the termination of life-support measures. I aimed to contribute to the quality of care at the end of life by investigating what physicians found helpful and not so helpful during their interactions with family members during this sensitive time in the family life. This case study provides a detailed overview of constructivist grounded theory methodology, the approach chosen for this study. Particular attention is paid to the reasoning behind choosing this methodology, benefits of this approach, and challenges that an investigator might encounter while working with this methodology. Attention is also paid to memo writing, reflexivity, member checking, and peer debriefing to reflect on the question of data verification and assurance of quality data within the framework of a qualitative research. My purpose is not to provide definitive answers, but to engage readers, who might be considering adopting qualitative methodologies and more specifically constructivist grounded theory for their future studies.

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