Challenges Experienced by Nurses in Providing Pediatric Palliative Care: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis

Erna Judith Roach, Omar Al Omari, Sheeba Elizabeth John, Frincy Francis, Judie Arulappan*, Lina Shakman, Aysha Al Hashmi, Sulaiman Al Sabei, Atika Khalaf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Pediatric leukemia is the most common cancer among children younger than 14 years of age. Children with leukemia require palliative care as additional support from the health care team. Providing palliative care to children is challenging. Thus, this study explored the challenges experienced by nurses in providing pediatric palliative care to children with leukemia. Methods: Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted on a purposive sample of 11 nurses in the hematology-oncology units of a tertiary care hospital in Oman. Results: Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using interpretive phenomenological analysis, which revealed three main themes and seven subthemes related to challenges in providing pediatric palliative care: Personal challenges: Nurses were unable to neutralize their emotions, which burdened them emotionally; due to multitasking, nurses were unable to manage their tasks within the expected time frame; nurses were stressful when they participated in explaining the diagnosis to the parents; and nurses felt powerless when the health condition of some children deteriorated. Educational challenges: Nurses felt unprepared to meet the physical/psychosocial aspects of caring for children with leukemia. Organizational challenges: Nurses stated that families and nurses required rooms to pray, rest, and read Quran, and they needed a private place to speak to families; and nurses mentioned that there are limited number of psychologists to meet the psychological and social needs of children and their families. Conclusion: Prioritizing and implementing strategies for a supportive workplace, guided clinical practice, and maximizing nurses’ satisfaction are crucial.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Palliative Care
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • child
  • leukemia
  • nurses
  • palliative care
  • pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this