General Session: State of the Nursing Science: Accentuating the Positive: Pediatric Oncology Nurses' Experiences of Caring (102)

10:15 – 11:15 am Friday, October 29

Pediatric oncology nurses are often asked, “How can you do this work—it must be so hard?” Although they acknowledge that the care of children and families is often emotionally draining, nurses express feeling gratitude for and finding meaning in their work and demonstrate the characteristics of resilience expressed by their patients and families.

Guided by the Resilience in Illness Model (RIM), this session will: 1) describe research on protective factors that foster positive resilience in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer; 2) describe ways pediatric oncology nurses similarly demonstrate and foster resilience within their clinical practice with patients and families, with and among colleagues at the unit and administrative level, and in their personal lives; and 3) describe and celebrate the outcomes of resilience in oncology nurses, including confidence, resilience resolution, and sense of well-being.

Background: The RIM was developed for AYAs with cancer and other chronic conditions, then used to guide intervention research to foster resilience in AYAs with cancer. Protective factors in RIM that foster resilience include:

  • spiritual perspectives (beliefs, frequency);
  • social integration (support from healthcare providers and friends);
  • family environment (adaptability, cohesion, communication, perceived family strengths);
  • courageous coping (confrontive, optimistic, and supportive coping); and
  • hope-derived meaning (interconnectedness, positive readiness/expectancy).

Outcomes are self-transcendence, resilience resolution, and sense of well-being. This session will explore these five protective factors and three outcomes in the context of pediatric oncology nursing resilience, with a focus on ways nurses can (and do) use protective factors in the RIM to enhance resilience and quality of life in their practice setting. Although we will briefly consider ways to enhance the resilience of patients and their families, the focus of the presentation is ways to foster resilience and the quality of life of nurses in their clinical setting and in their personal lives.