Nurses' Needs to Competently Care for Transitioning Pediatric-Sized Adult Patients

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Lauren Hyatt, MSN, RN
Observation Unit, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC


The purpose of this presentation is to present an education plan for nurses caring for transitioning pediatric-sized adult patients in the adult health care setting. In today’s world of advanced healthcare practices, children with chronic childhood illnesses are beginning to survive into adulthood (McDonnell, Kocolas, Roosevelt, & Yetman, 2010). As a result, nurses, physicians, and other members of the healthcare team are faced with the challenge of how to properly care for them.  In placing them in the adult hospital setting, the nurse must encompass the knowledge and skill set to safely care for them. The nurse must also understand how to retrieve the resources that are available to him or her. This presentation will identify the common needs expressed by nurses’ in the adult ICU setting of a large teaching hospital in the Southeast.


A mixed methods study will be conducted to identify nurses’ needs to competently care for pediatric-sized adult patients in the adult ICU setting of a large teaching hospital in the Southeast.  Approximately 80 nurses from the medical ICU, 80 nurses from the surgical-trauma ICU, and 80 nurses from the neurosurgical ICU will be asked to participate in a survey composed of 14 closed-ended and open-ended questions.  To achieve more statistically accurate data, the student investigator hopes to incorporate at least 100 participants in the study.  All nurses in the adult ICU setting, regardless of employment status (full time, part time, prn),  will be given a survey via their work email to complete within a two-week time period from the date of sending the original email.  The survey will be accessible to the participant during this entire two-week time period.  To avoid duplication of results, only the participants work email will be used.  Prior to the administration of the survey, a discussion between the nurse manager and the staff of each nursing unit involved will take place to encourage nurses to participate.  Nurses will be informed that the feedback they provide through the survey can better assist the hospital in developing an education plan that will better equip them to care for transitioning pediatric-sized adult patients.  

The literature has yet to define “pediatric-size,” therefore, the definitions of chronic illness with the inclusion of common chronic childhood diseases will be used for the purpose of this study. Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Professions (2006), defines chronic illness as “any disorder that persists over a long period and affects physical, emotional, intellectual, vocational, social, or spiritual functioning” (p.383).  Common chronic childhood diseases may include, but are not limited to, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, asthma, obesity, malnutrition, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, hemophilia, spina bifida, congenital heart disorders, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and mental illness (Staa, Jedeloo, Meeteren, & Latour, 2011; Torpy, Campbell, & Glass, 2010).

Results: Results will be retrieved and analyzed in February, 2014.

Conclusion: The lack of research on caring for pediatric-sized adult patients represents the need for this nursing research. It is already concluded that there is a need for an education plan on how to provide competent, safe care to a transitioning pediatric-sized adult patient. The conclusion will be drawn from the results of the research study in February, 2014.