Exploring nursing presence as experienced by parents in pediatric oncology


      • Parents in pediatric oncology experience nursing presence as ‘being’ and ‘doing’.
      • Nursing presence is essential in the formation of therapeutic nurse-patient relationships.
      • Parents of children with cancer have positive hospital experiences when nurses are present.



      Nursing presence has been viewed as a valuable way to create therapeutic relationships and has been linked to better health outcomes for patients and families. However, whether nursing presence can be described and how parents in pediatric oncology experience this phenomenon remains unanswered. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore how parents of children with cancer describe and experience nursing presence.


      This study used Giorgi's phenomenological approach to explore nursing presence as experienced by parents of children with cancer. Ten participants from a pediatric oncology clinic in Canada were interviewed. Giorgi's approach was used to analyze these data.


      Based upon participants' descriptions, a structure of nursing presence emerged which included six constituent features: An attitude of presence, a source of encouragement, clinical experience and expertise, therapeutic communication, family involvement, and a sense of home away from home. Most notably, nursing presence as experienced by parents was characterized by the ‘being’ and ‘doing’ of presence which were equally important.


      The experiences described by parents provided rich and nuanced insights into what it meant to experience nursing presence in a pediatric oncology setting. This study provides a structure for this meaning making and expounds on its constituent features, describing what nursing presence resembles when experienced by parents of children with cancer.

      Practice implications

      This study informs nursing practice, policy, and education in ways that are likely to enhance care and the subsequent well-being of pediatric oncology patients and families.


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