Military nursing students face challenges when they fall pregnant while training because of their responsibilities towards soldiering and being a student. The purpose and objective of this study was to explore and describe the lived experiences of students at a military nursing college regarding their pregnancies. The descriptive phenomenological method was pursued to explore the lifeworld of participants. Data were collected by means of conducting unstructured interviews with 9 nursing students. The analysis of data was done using a descriptive phenomenological approach following Giorgi’s (1985) methodological interpretations. The participants’ lived experiences were characterised by self-containment when they realised that they were excluded from the groups they belonged to and had no one to depend on but themselves. Isolation of self from others and isolation by others from self was accepted by participants as a way of dealing with shame and avoiding confrontation. Self-appreciation was a huge achievement when participants realised that despite all their challenges, they maintained their self-worth and were determined not to give up their studies. The exploration and description of experiences provided a platform to discuss the essence and constituents supported by a thorough literature review, to deepen the understanding of the new knowledge. The study findings are only applicable to the context within which the study was conducted - within the confinement of the military environment. Recommendations include developing support programmes for pregnant nursing students and providing training regarding pregnancy policy to all first year nursing students, and further research to compare similarities with other non-military nursing colleges in South Africa.
Dissertation (MCur)--University of Pretoria, 2015.