The Importance of Family-Centered Care in Pediatric Nursing

Ashley Saleeba, University of Connecticut School of Nursing

Document Type Article

This paper was submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of NURS 252: Nursing Care of the Childrearing Family.


The illness of a child can have a traumatic affect on both families and the child. Pediatric care has adopted the philosophy of a family-centered care approach in order to maximize the well being of pediatric patients. The philosophy is founded on the collaboration of the family, nurses and hospital staff to plan, provide, and evaluate care. The philosophy is grounded on several principles that revolve around the central idea that the family is the constant in a child’s life (Neal et al., 2007). Nurses must work with the family to develop the best plan of care for a child. Parents are experts in their child’s care and know more about their child then we can ever learn through assessments or charts. The family is also the child’s main source of support providing stability in what can be an otherwise traumatic period in a child’s life. The presence of the family during health related procedures can significantly reduce both the child’s and parent’s anxiety (Neff, 2003) Decreased anxiety from the patient and family decreases the stress on healthcare workers, positively affecting their ability to provide treatment. In essence the nurse must attend to both the needs of the family and child in order to maximize a child’s outcomes.