Parent and clinician communication during paediatric burn wound care: A qualitative study

E.A. Brown, M. Egberts, R. Wardhani, A. De Young, R. Kimble, B. Griffin, K. Storey, J. Kenardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To thematically describe parent-clinician communication during a child's first burn dressing change following emergency department presentation.

Design and methods: An observational study of parent-clinician communication during the first burn dressing change at a tertiary children's hospital. Verbal communication between those present at the dressing change for 87 families, was audio recorded. The recordings were transcribed verbatim and transcripts were analysed within NVivo11 qualitative data analysis software using qualitative content analysis.

Findings: Three themes, underpinned by parent-clinician rapport-building, were identified. Firstly, knowledge sharing was demonstrated: Clinicians frequently informed the parent about the state of the child's wound, what the procedure will involve, and need for future treatment. Comparatively, parents informed the clinician about their child's temperament and coping since the accident. Secondly, child procedural distress management was discussed: Clinicians and parents had expectations about the likelihood of procedural distress, which was also related to communication about how to prevent and interpret procedural distress (i.e., pain/fear). Finally, parents communicated to clinicians about their own distress, worry and uncertainty, from the accident and wound care. Parents also communicated guilt and blame in relation to injury responsibility.

Conclusions: This study provides a description of parent-clinician communication during paediatric burn wound care. Practical implications: The results can assist healthcare professionals to be prepared for a range of conversations with parents during potentially distressing paediatric medical procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-154
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Burns
  • Child, hospitalized
  • Health communication
  • Health personnel
  • Observational study
  • Pain, procedural
  • Parents
  • Qualitative research
  • Stress, psychological


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