Skip to main content

Table 2 Additional participant quotes to support the identified themes and sub-themes

From: Return to work after carpal tunnel release surgery: a qualitative interview study

Theme 1: CTR is not a ‘minor’ procedure
“I suppose actually just mentally preparing myself, because obviously, I’d never had any surgery done on a hand or a foot, or anything like that before. Obviously, you don’t realise beforehand how frustrating it’s going to be to not be able to use it, if that makes sense? I even struggled with going for a shower, trying to wash your hair and things like that. I had to get my partner, bless him, to wash my hair. It’s just mentally preparing yourself- To not be able to do as much as you would normally, but I suppose that’s the same for any surgery. I suppose I just didn’t prepare myself for what I could and couldn’t do.”
Fiona, animal technician (employed)
“A lot of people don’t realise, do they, how much is involved with carpal tunnel [surgery]. They think, “Oh, it’s just your hand. It’s just a minor op[eration].” But actually, it does affect you a lot in your working areas, wherever you are, whatever you do. They don’t realise how much it is going to affect the daily activities of living afterwards.”
Debbie, nurse (employed)
Theme 2: Validation of the time taken off work
i. Is the sick note a barrier for earlier return to work? ii. It held more weight coming from the surgeon iii. The patient role in the prescription of sick leave
“Not really [I don’t recall any advice about returning to work]. Not that I remember. Only more about how much time to take off”
Amanda, administrator (employed)
“At least I could give them fair warning, which was fine. And the fact that I had a doctor’s certificate. I had the surgery, and the surgeon said, “No, I will give a certificate straight off for 2 weeks anyway.” So I had warned the employers that 2 weeks [would be the] minimum.”
Alison, carer (zero hours contract)
“Probably just be more steadfast in our own opinion because I felt, not intimidated, that’s the wrong word, I just thought, “Well, because they’re an expert, they know better than me.” I could see myself and I could feel myself that I wasn’t ready to use my hand and it didn’t feel as if I should have had the stitches out.”
Emma, optician (employed)
“I just… Obviously took in my sick note that the hospital gave me and I just said I’ll keep in touch and see how we go.”
Peter, Mechanic (employed)
Theme 3: Handling the return
i. Making a graded return to work duties ii. Travelling to work
“I was a bit anxious about coming back to work. I knew I still had trouble using my hand. I would have like a phased return to work. I don’t think they would have been supportive... I needed someone to sit down and say, ‘Look, [Emma] can’t come back full time. She needs to come in at 2:00 pm and go home at 4:00 pm’.” Whatever.
Emma, optician (employed)
“I had it done over the weekend, and within a couple of days I was back driving, because I had absolutely nil pain from the wound. The pain that I used to get when driving was totally gone.”
Sarah, stable owner (self-employed)
“Like, getting in the car, I didn’t drive for over 2 weeks... I didn’t feel happy to because my wrist felt, I don’t know, just not quite strong enough. I was worried. It’s alright if the roads aren’t busy and you could just go along, but if I had to react to something quickly, I didn’t feel comfortable with that. Yes. I was told, advised for 2 weeks not to [drive] and then to see how I felt after that.”
Amanda, administrator (employed)
“I was never forced into anything. It was always my decision as to whether I was happy or not. Certainly, my sergeants and inspectors have been very good and were just keen to do whatever is necessary to get me back out on the frontline again.”
Donna, police officer (employed)