Author

Mary Aliberti

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Department

School of Nursing

First Advisor

Nancy Ebersole

Abstract

The nurse’s role in caring for a child with cancer has its challenges, but when done correctly can positively affect the well-being of a patient and their family. Both the patient and family go through major psychosocial shifts from the time that the child receives the diagnosis of cancer. This time of considerable transition can leave families feeling lost during an already uncertain period. Keeping patients and family members involved throughout the course of treatment is essential for the success of effective care. The database CINAHL Plus was used to do a systematic review of the literature to identify common issues in pediatric oncology nursing practice and the toll that this can take on patients and their family’s mental well-being. Common themes identified in the literature are family members are in different developmental stages and each requires a unique approach; caregiver knowledge or lack thereof is a major factor in family well-being; and a child’s ability to communicate and be heard impacts how the need for care is perceived and provided. This is an important topic because nurses must consider the psychosocial needs of the family unit as well the physical needs when it comes to providing optimal care. Dealing with a diagnosis as harmful as cancer is a considerable amount of stress to be put on a young child and the family. Knowledge of what is currently known will lead to more effective communication with patients and family members, resulting in greater health outcomes.

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