Human Flourishing in Adolescents with Cancer: Experiences of Pediatric Oncology Health Care Professionals

Published:January 03, 2021DOI:


      • Adolescents with cancer require age-appropriate and comprehensive support.
      • Human flourishing means complete well-being.
      • Human flourishing can guide holistic care tailored to adolescents with cancer.
      • Nurses are well-positioned to promote human flourishing in this population.



      This study explores human flourishing (HF) in adolescents with cancer (AC) as witnessed by their health care providers, and it develops a list of critical attributes associated with HF to describe the positive outcomes witnessed.

      Design and Methods

      Our study used a qualitative descriptive design incorporating data from an open-ended electronic survey and semi-structured individual interviews with 17 pediatric oncology health care providers.


      We found 3 major themes (positive forward motion, connectedness, and self-character) representing 11 critical attributes of human flourishing in AC: (1) initiative and enterprise, (2) positivity and evocativeness, (3) tranquility and maturity, (4) perseverance and tenacity, (5) compassion and empathy, (6) social engagement and connection, (7) wisdom and translation into life, (8) supportive background, (9) self-awareness and self-agency, (10) transcendence and full potential, and (11) meaning-making.


      Understanding the concept of HF as it applies to the needs of AC is a step toward establishing it as a comprehensive health care goal and toward developing care provider guidelines for its promotion.

      Practice Implications

      Given the attributes of HF in AC, nurses can consider HF as an ultimate nursing care outcome and should focus on goals of care beyond disease treatment and symptoms mitigation when providing care for this population. Holistic, individualized assessment, timely care during each phase of treatment, and developmentally tailored intervention should be provided.


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