Hospitalized Children's Perspectives on the Quality and Equity of Their Nursing Care

This study examines children and adolescents’ views of the quality of their nursing care while hospitalized.

Hospitalized children and adolescents ages six to 21 were interviewed between 2007 and 2009. The 496 participants were nearly equally divided between males (49.1%) and females (50.9%). The group was 73 percent White and 20 percent Black. There were no significant differences in perceptions of nurse behavior between girls and boys or White and Black children.

One hundred eighty-four children were interviewed during their first hospitalization. Forty percent were interviewed on the day they were discharged; the others were interviewed on their second to 337th hospital day. This group identified 12 positive and six negative nurse behaviors.

To the question of “what do you like most?” Participants provided 1,673 responses; all children named at least one nurse behavior they liked and that made them feel good, happy, safe, comfortable, or not bored. These responses were sorted into 12 categories including:

  • Gives me what I need when I need it (42%)
  • Checks on me often (35%)

The 485 behaviors children reported not liking, and that made them feel sad, bad, mad, scared, or annoyed included:

  • Does things to me that hurt or are uncomfortable (64%)
  • Wakes me up (24%)

Three million children in the United States are hospitalized every year; better understanding their perspectives on the quality of their care and outcomes will improve their patient experience.