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A qualitative study exploring Singaporean parents' perceptions on preparing their child for surgery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Cherie Mun Chang, Yan Li, Leng Leng Or, Minna Pikkarainen, Tarja Pölkki, Wenru Wang, Siew Tiang Lau, Hong Gu He

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e69-e77
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2020
Published1 Sep 2020

King's Authors


Purpose: To explore the perceptions of parents regarding the preparation of their children for surgery. Design and methods: A qualitative descriptive study was conducted. Sixteen parents of children who were undergoing various types of elective surgery in a public tertiary hospital in Singapore were recruited. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Five themes were derived: (1) assumed roles of the parents; (2) communication, decision-making, and emotional challenges; (3) factors facilitating the preparation of children for surgery; (4) surgery-related and financial concerns; and (5) the desire for more information and better management. While preparing their children for surgery, parents undertook several roles to ensure readiness and to provide support. Parents faced challenges while communicating with their children regarding their surgeries, experiencing negative emotions and dilemmas in making decisions for surgery. Factors such as previous experiences, children's positive mentality, and access to information helped to facilitate their preparation. Parents expressed surgery-related concerns such as anesthesia and a successful outcome of the surgery, the timing of the surgery, and postoperative care. Parents expressed a desire for easier to understand information through the use of visual materials, and improvements in current practices and management. Conclusion: This study provides a greater understanding of parents' perceptions of their roles, challenges, influencing factors, concerns, and needs when preparing their children for surgery. Practice implications: The study findings provide insightful aspects for improving current healthcare practices and informing future research studies in exploring better surgery preparation programs for both parents and children.

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