Experiences of Young Children With Cancer and Their Parents With Nurses' Caring Practices During the Cancer Trajectory.

Research paper by Karin K Enskär, Laura L Darcy, Maria M Björk, Susanne S Knutsson, Karina K Huus

Indexed on: 26 Nov '20Published on: 19 Sep '19Published in: Journal of pediatric oncology nursing : official journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses


Children with cancer require repeated hospitalizations and the family's everyday life and routines undergo change. Concrete descriptions of how nurses act when caring for children with cancer throughout the various phases of care and treatment are sparsely highlighted in the literature. The aim of this study was to describe young children with cancer and their parents' experiences of nurses' caring practices over a 3-year period, from diagnosis to follow-up. This study is based on semistructured interviews with 25 children newly diagnosed with cancer, aged 1 to 6 years, and their parents, connected to a pediatric oncology unit in Sweden. Child and parent data were analyzed with a deductive content analysis using Swanson's theory of caring. The result shows that nurse care practices directed toward young children with cancer and their parents are to some extent similar across a 3-year period from diagnosis to follow-up but also differ in some ways. Nurses' caring practices aim to support children and parents in the transition to a "new normal." Child- and family-friendly care processes include the following: creating hope and a trustful relationship, asking rather than assuming, providing knowledge and information, performing tasks skillfully, displaying an interest in the child's and parents' life outside the hospital, and helping the family to trust in the future and other health care providers. Based on these results, we recommend the development of a standardized and structured nursing care plan or clinical guideline with detailed information on how to carry out clinical nurse care practices in the different phases.