Understanding the views of parents of children with special needs about the nursing care their child receives when in hospital: a qualitative study

J Child Health Care. 2008 Mar;12(1):7-17. doi: 10.1177/1367493507085615.


This article reports a qualitative study designed to explore parents' views on how their child with additional needs had been cared for by hospital nursing staff, focusing on how well their own and their child's needs had been identified and met. Twelve interviews with parents of children with additional needs and a thematic analysis of the interview data was conducted. Four themes were developed to provide an insight into parents' views about their experiences: their prior experiences of hospital care, including the process of being told the original diagnosis; communication with staff; nurse-parent relationships; and perceptions of nurses and nursing care. It concludes that parents experience some difficulties in developing a trusting relationship with the nurses caring for their child with additional needs. Parents perceive that nurses are not always able to recognize and respond to their needs when caring for their child. Failure to address these needs can interfere with the development of effective nurse-parent relationships.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized* / psychology
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Communication
  • Disabled Children* / psychology
  • Disabled Children* / rehabilitation
  • Empathy
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Care* / psychology
  • Nursing Care* / standards
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust