Current Content
Volume 40 - Number 5
September/October 2014

Education Given to Parents of Children Newly Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: The Parent's Perspective
Gemma Aburn and Meryn Gott

Over the last 30 years, diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancers have improved significantly due to medical research and advancements in technology. Increasingly, parents are taking on the role of providing "nursing" care for their children, including managing emergency situations as well as everyday treatment needs. This study investigated the perceptions and experiences of parents caring for newly diagnosed children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in relation to education given prior to the first discharge from hospital. Using a grounded theory approach, 12 parents of children with ALL from a tertiary pediatric hematology and oncology setting in New Zealand were interviewed using a semi-structured interview technique. Key findings of relevance to clinical practice include the importance of recognizing the emotional strain parents experience following diagnosis and the resultant impact upon how education is understood. Findings may also be applicable to other complex child health areas where education is provided, both in a local and international context. Understanding the family perspective is crucial to enabling clinicians to provide appropriate and informative education to children with ALL and their families.