Date of Award

Summer 2021


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Document Type



Children's Studies


On average, 6 million children undergo general anesthesia for surgery annually in the United States (Shah et al., 2021).Anesthesia can be one of the most stress provoking experiences, with 40% to 60% of children displaying emotional and behavior stress before surgery (Boles, 2016). Psychosocial preoperative preparation in pediatrics has been seen to lower children’s stress levels, enhance understanding, increase compliance, decrease length of time in recovery, and decrease analgesic use (Aranha et al., 2017; Al-Yateem et al., 2016; Dolidze et al., 2013; Tunney & Boore 2013; Wenstrom et al., 2011). The purpose of this exploratory case study was to better understand what psychosocial preoperative preparation children are receiving in a non-pediatric hospital where child life is commonly not present. The intention was to better understand if psychosocial, developmental, and individual needs are being met for patients and families outside children’s hospitals. This study was also exploring what level of understanding nurses have when asked about psychosocial preoperative preparation for their pediatric patients without the support of a certified child life specialist. Utilizing semi-structured interviews to collect data four nurses were interviewed over Zoom. The results of this case study provide insight into the lack of preoperative support children are receiving when child life services are not available. Nurses were found to need additional support in order to provide psychosocial support to children. Through thematic content analysis the following six themes emerged:1) An environment focused on efficiency, 2) Preoperative preparation is extremely limited and variable, 3) Attention Given to the Child, 4) Parental involvement is important, 5) Lack of knowledge, 6) Staff Roles and Responsibilities. Furthermore twelve sub-themes were identified.