Background: Patients undergoing mechanical ventilation in intensive care units are in a special position of suffering, and discovering their experiences in the painful situations of the intensive care unit can contribute greatly to improve the quality of nursing care for them. 
Objective: The present study was performed aiming to explain the experience of conscious patients receiving mechanical ventilation in the intensive care units of the causes of suffering.
Methods: This is a qualitative content analysis study conducted in Iran in 2017. Participants of this study included 15 conscious mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit. Semi-structured interviews and observations were used to collect data. For sampling, first, the purposeful and then theoretical methods (guided by the created categories) were used and the procedure continued until saturation of the data. The text of the handwritten notes of recorded interviews were analyzed using conventional qualitative content analysis.
Results: Four subclasses of "unpleasant consequences of disease", "bitter elixir of therapy", "an inconvenient environment" and "understanding the threat to family safety and comfort" all under the general category "enclosed in the synergistic rings of suffering" were extracted from the profound descriptions of contributors.
Conclusion: Mechanically ventilated patients in the intensive care unit are enclosed in the rings of suffering, so that each of these rings imposes a great deal of pain and suffering on the patient and have a synergic and intensifying effect on each other. Therefore, design and application of strategies and nursing care is essential to reduce the severity of the suffering and discomfort of these patients.


Keywords: Intensive care unit, Mechanically ventilated patient, suffering


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