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Parents’ experiences of interacting with nurses regarding the care of their children with chronic health conditions Espezel, Hilary Joan Edith

Abstract

An interpretive descriptive design was used to explore and describe parents' experiences of interacting with nurses regarding the care of their children with chronic health conditions, and to gain a better understanding of these experiences from the parents' perspectives. Eight parents, representing seven families, participated in audiotaped interviews. Data were analyzed concurrently with data collection, and the three themes of establishing rapport, meeting parental needs for information and support, and,negotiating care, emerged. Rapport was established more easily when the nurse demonstrated a degree of knowledge about the child's health condition and about the child as a person, when the nurse acknowledged having previous contact with the family, when information was reciprocally shared, and when the nurse conveyed friendliness, empathy, and optimism. Barriers to establishing rapport occurred when the nurse had a blunt approach, and when environmental factors not conducive to facilitating interaction were present. Interactions with nurses were considered more positive when they served to meet parents' needs for information and support. Needs were more often met when nurses considered parents' readiness and ability to receive and process information, and when nurses cared for the parents and their children rather than for a single care recipient. Information needs were met more consistently than were support needs. Parents and nurses negotiated care on an individual basis, and several care responsibilities were often transferred from nurse to parent. Parents often changed their own approach when negotiating with nurses, which was thought to improve their children's nursing care. Nurses frequently mediated between parents and physicians, which parents also thought improved care outcomes. The findings of this study engendered implications for clinical practice, nursing leadership, education, and research. Through reflection on individual practice, the development of formal interdisciplinary health care education initiatives, continued research in the area of collaborative practice, and with support from nursing leaders, nurses are better positioned to consistently provide holistic care to children and their families.

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