Waiting for a kidney transplant: The experience of patients with end-stage renal disease in South Korea

Hye Jin Chong, Hyun Kyung Kim, Sung Reul Kim, Sik Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To explore the experiences of Korean patients with end-stage renal disease awaiting kidney transplantation. Background: The need for kidney transplantation has increased worldwide, while the number of kidney donors has not increased commensurately. This mismatch is a serious issue in South Korea. Prolonged waits for transplantation may cause physical and psychosocial issues and lead to poor outcomes. Nevertheless, the experience of waiting for kidney transplantation in South Korea has never been explored in depth. Design: A qualitative descriptive design was used. Methods: The participants were eight patients diagnosed with end-stage renal disease on the waiting list for kidney transplantation in South Korea. Data were collected through individual in-depth interviews. All conversations during interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcribed data were analysed using conventional content analysis. Results: The experience of waiting for kidney transplantation consisted of six categories: (1) the light at the end of the tunnel, (2) being on call without any promise, (3) a tough tug of war between excitement and frustration, (4) doubts in the complexity, (5) A companion on the hard journey and (6) getting ready for D-day. Conclusions: Kidney transplantation candidates experience psychosocial difficulties and concerns while waiting for long periods of time without any assurance of resolution. Systematic education and psychosocial support from health care professionals and family members help patients get through what they describe as a difficult journey. Comprehensive management programs for kidney transplantation candidates are needed. Relevance to clinical practice: Health care professionals need to recognise the psychosocial concerns of patients awaiting kidney transplantation. Clinicians should provide patients with information and support throughout the waiting period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)930-939
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Patients
  • Qualitative research
  • Waiting lists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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