Being in a hospital with a sick child can be one of the most stressful moments for a parent to go through. Nevertheless, on a daily bases, we as pediatric nurses work closely with these parents to ease their stress as we strive to send them home with a healthy child. To ensure a smooth transition from the stressful state of mind, it is vital to identify goals and needs, plan interventions and to advocate effectively for the patient and parents’ unique needs.
A few weeks ago, I took care of a two year old with hip pain that presented with more complex problems when lab results came back. Mother and father seemed very distressed when they were informed about the abnormal wbc and platelet counts. As mom only spoke Spanish, most of her concerns were expressed to dad and dad seemed even more stressed because he did not understand the implications of this information, the conclusions that he made in his head terrified him. “My daughter came here with hip pain, what role does her platelet count and wbc play in all of this? The orthopedic doctors said a lot of things but I don’t feel like I understand what is going on. Is there something they are not telling me? Does she have cancer?” father expressed to me.
It was apparent that the questions and concerns expressed were weighing heavy on the family. I informed both parents that I would contact the MD along with an interpreter to address their concerns. The MD walked in while I was obtaining my assessments, I informed her of father’s concern. I emphasized the importance of having an interpreter at bedside when new information was being provided to the family. Additionally, I informed her of father’s increased anxiety in not knowing what was going on. Language barrier, uncertainty of medical diagnosis/treatment and anxiety were unique conditions related to this event.
When father voiced concerns about possible diagnosis, he worried about the impact it would have on him and his wife, missing more days of work and most importantly the fact that they did not have insurance. I wanted all the right resources available to the family. My mission was to make that happen as I put in a social work consult.
A family conference took place in which the attending MD, resident, an interpreter and I sat with both parents in an effort to inform them of the plan of care, further tests that were in progress and the fact that a HemOnc consult was put in place. The attending stated to father that no diagnosis can be made at this moment as further tests needed to be obtained, she also informed him of the implications of what results were available at the moment.
Furthermore, father was given the ability to ask all his questions, express his fear and he gained the assurance that everything to care for his child would be done. To address his concerns about insurance and work, I stated that social work would work...