Stories seldom told: paediatric nurses’ experiences of caring for hospitalized children with special needs and their families

Authors

  • Karen Ford RN RM Cert Paed Nursing BN MN,

    1. Registered Nurse, Paediatric Unit, Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia Principal Lecturer, School of Nursing, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
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  • DeSales Turner RN BA BED MN

    1. Registered Nurse, Paediatric Unit, Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia Principal Lecturer, School of Nursing, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
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Karen Ford, Paediatric Unit, Royal Hobart Hospital, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. E-mail: karenandross@hotmail.com

Abstract

Stories seldom told: paediatric nurses’ experiences of caring for hospitalized children with special needs and their families

Aims of the study.  This study explored paediatric nurses’ experiences of caring for children with special needs and their families in an acute care setting. The aim of the study was to increase understanding of nurses’ experiences of caring for these children and their families. The study was designed to reveal the caring practices embedded within these relationships through exploring nurses’ stories.

Study design/methods.  Gadamerian hermeneutic phenomenology and feminist research principles were the approaches used to guide the study. Interviews were held with experienced paediatric nurses and interpretation of interview transcripts using a Gadamerian hermeneutic phenomenological approach resulted in the identification of four themes.

Findings.  The four themes revealed were: Special Relationships; Multiple Dimensions of Who is Expert; Development of Trust Between Nurses and Families; and Feelings of Frustration and Guilt.

Conclusions.  The study emphasized the context-specific nature of relationships between nurses and children and their families. The nurses spoke about the difficulties they encountered in their practice and some of the ways that they dealt with these problems. They discussed the things that they valued and those that made them feel guilty and frustrated. In doing so, they revealed their warmth, strength, humanity and caring.

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