Information exchange is fundamental in the paediatric care encounter. Health care professionals need further background knowledge to encounter the parents/guardians from their perspective in their minors’ paediatric care. The parents’/guardians’ ability to manage the situation is dependent on their receiving optimal information, which is why it is important to study how information is exchanged.
The aim of this study was to identify, describe and conceptualize how parents/guardians resolved their main concern in information exchange with health care professionals in paediatric care situations involving their minors.
Glaser’s grounded theory method was used and all data were analysed using constant comparative analysis. The observational study took place at three paediatric outpatient units at a university hospital and 24 parents/guardians participated. Data sources were field notes from 37 observations of paediatric care situations and five adherent excerpts from the minors’ medical records. Grounded theory is a method of conceptualising behaviour, which is why an observational study of parents’/guardians’ information exchange and social interaction in the context of nursing care is relevant as research design.
Firm handling was revealed as the way the parents/guardians resolved their main concerns when they were exchanging information about their minors’ paediatric care. Firm handling is built on five inter-related categories: representative advocating, collaborating, aim sharing, supportive resourcing and minor bypassing.
This knowledge suggests possible ways for health care professionals to design paediatric care that supports, facilitates, strengthens and improves the parents’/guardians’ firm handling. The key issue is to find ways to support parents/guardians and minors so they can participate in health care encounters according to their preferences. Firm handling gives an opportunity to both reinforce parenthood in paediatric care and invite minors to participate.
2011. Vol. 4, no 1, 32-39 p.