Being a peer mentor for a person recovering from an acute myocardial infarction

Lena Junehag, Jacek Hochwälder, Marianne Svedlund


Challenge after an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is to manage the disease and to prevent a second AMI. Other people with the same illness have a unique understanding of the situation; therefore, they can provide valuable support. Being a peer mentor and contributing one’s own experiences of the same illness can even lead to increased self-confidence. The aim was to describe personal perceptions of being a peer mentor for a person recovering from an AMI. Patients in three sparsely populated counties, who had experienced their first AMI the previous year, were offered contact with peer mentors. The peer mentors had experienced an AMI between one and ten years ago. Sixteen of them were interviewed after one year as mentor. The interview texts were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Two themes summarized the interview results, “being in charge” and “being comfortable”, which incorporated six subthemes. The peer mentors also answered a questionnaire, and according to the purpose of the study, certain parts of the questionnaires were analysed using a paired-sample t-test. The dimensions measured in the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-R) showed significant increased mean values, including Illness Coherence (p ≤ .001) and Emotional representation (p ≤ .05). Highlights of the results included that being a peer mentor led to feelings of pride and that peer mentors should be preceded by a careful matching between patients and mentors.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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