Nurses Help Parents of Children With Cancer Feel Listened To, Create Trustworthiness

Individual informational meetings led by nurses for parents of children with cancer helped parents feel listened to, gave them a safe space, and provided them with more information about their child’s illness, according to a study. The study was an analysis of the Person-centred Information to Parents in Paediatric Oncology (PIFBO, acronym for Swedish “Personcentrerad information till förĂ€ldrar inom barnonkologin”) intervention, for which 13 parents took part in qualitative, semi-structured interviews. “The hypothesis was that an intervention based on parents’ self-identified needs and existing knowledge would reduce parental distress and increase satisfaction with care,” the researchers explained. The intervention nurses were experienced pediatric oncology nurses who also took part in a three-day workshop to prepare. Parents and intervention nurses were to participate in four meetings, either in person or by telephone. The mean number of meetings each parent actually took part in was 3.5 (range, 2-5), and each meeting lasted a mean 51 minutes (range, 15-105 minutes). Fifty-six total meetings took place, most of which were in person (n=37). The mean age of the participating parents was 39.7 years (range, 29-65 years). Nine parents were female, and four were male. The 10 children had a mean age of 5.1 years (range, 2-15 years), and the most common diagnosis was leukemia (n=7). The overarching theme of the meetings was “an opening for healing,” which was broken down into three categories, which were further categorized in six subcategories:
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of the entire situation. “These meetings were perceived as a moment in which the parents could learn more about their child’s disease, treatment, and overall situation.”
    • An opportunity to process current topics
    • Learning and moving forward
  • Caring reflections in a safe space. “Parents appreciated having a moment for themselves, where they could disconnect from their child, family, and friends and focus on their own experiences.”
    • A moment just for me
    • It made me feel better
  • Meeting a competent and compassionate nurse. “When the parents met the intervention nurse, they experienced the nurse as competent and compassionate. They felt that the intervention nurses were trustworthy, as they were experienced and had a great deal of knowledge about their situation. The parents also felt listened to and perceived the intervention nurse as an adaptive listener.”
    • Feeling trustworthiness
    • Feeling listened to
The study was published in the April issue of the European Journal of Oncology Nursing.