Working with families in an Emergency Department: Perceptions of working with children and their parents

Linda Shields, Wendy Smyth, Mamun Abdullah, Lisa Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale and aim: Family-centred care is widely used as a model of care in children’s health services. This paper is part of a series of studies using a validated questionnaire to test health professionals’ perceptions of working with children and with their parents. Method: The questionnaire has two questions and employs a scoring system of semantic differentials. Other questions examined demographic characteristics. The scores were compared and tested against demographic characteristics. Participants (n=126) were nurses, doctors and allied health professionals who worked with children in the emergency department of a tertiary referral regional hospital in northern Australia. We used Wilcoxon signed rank test and median to compare the scores and ANOVA to test mean differences of demographics. Results: Scores for working with children (3.81) were more positive than working with parents (3.29), (p<0.001). Scores were influenced by education level (p=0.05), gender (p=0.05), marital status (p=0.04), having one’s own children (p=0.02) and by length of time working with children (p=0.05). Conclusions: Health professionals working with children in a large, regional hospital’s emergency department held more postitive perceptions about working with children than working with their parents. This is consistent with other studies using the same tool in a variety of settings and countries and indicates that family-centred care is not being fully implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal for Person Centered Healthcare
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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