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Psychological Preparation in Pediatric Settings: How do child life specialists and nurses prepare children for medical procedures?

Summary:
The focus of this comparative case study was to identify how child life specialists and nurses perceive and practice psychological preparation as a function of their roles and professional training. The child life specialists’ primary role is to provide psychological preparation; nurses primary task is to perform medical procedures. This study was conducted with four Japanese participants, two child life specialists, and two nurses through interviews. The reality was that nurses do not have time to provide psychological preparation, and tend to use behaviorist language and technique. There is very little collaboration between child life specialists and nurses when providing psychological preparation. Implications for possible collaboration are proposed in order to maximize children’s understandings and coping skills of medical procedures. Child life specialists can educate nurses on child development and related issues, and nurses can apply their professional medical knowledge. Child life specialists and nurses working collaboratively can provide the best support for the individual child and family in meeting their diverse needs.

Keywords:
Psychological preparation, Preparation, Child life specialist, Nurse, Collaboration, Medical procedure, Intravenous, Venepuncture, Case study, Interview

*This paper is a master's thesis submitted to Mills College, Oakland, California.

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