Research paper| Volume 22, ISSUE 2, P113-118, June 2019

Parents’ experiences of care in a paediatric emergency department: A phenomenological inquiry

  • Alison Peeler
    Corresponding author at: Australian Catholic University, 1100 Nudgee Rd, Banyo, Qld, Australia.
    School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    Nursing Research and Practice Development Centre, The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Paul Fulbrook
    School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    Nursing Research and Practice Development Centre, The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
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  • Karen-Leigh Edward
    Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia

    St Vincent's Private Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom
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  • Frances B. Kinnear
    Department of Emergency Medicine, The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Published:February 27, 2019DOI:



      The purpose of this study was to provide a rich description of the lived experiences of parents whose child had received care in a new paediatric emergency department.


      A descriptive phenomenological design was used. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 18 parents. Participants were asked to describe their experience of having a sick or injured child treated at the paediatric emergency department, recounting the story of their journey from when their child was first sick or injured, through to their experience within the emergency department, until discharge home. Data were analysed using Colaizzi's phenomenological approach.


      Following analysis, six themes emerged: I can’t imagine my life without her; Keeping me up to date with what was happening; They treated my child in a way that was toddler friendly; They had our child's best interest at heart; We were working as a team; and There are games and books in the waiting room.


      The findings demonstrated that parents’ experience of having an ill or injured child treated by the paediatric emergency department was a positive experience and highlighted factors that contributed to this experience. These included open communication, competent and skilled staff, being seen in a timely manner and being cared for in a thorough, family inclusive and child-friendly way.


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