Open Conference Systems, UCUR 2017

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Elizabeth Kerr, Donna Freeborn

Building: LA - Liberal Arts Building
Room: LA 233- Oral Pres.
Date: 2017-02-17 12:30 PM – 02:20 PM
Last modified: 2017-02-06



The purpose of this research is to help nurses better serve families with children who have type 1 diabetes. By learning from experiences of parents who have raised a child with diabetes to adulthood, nurses can provide more appropriate, therapeutic care.


Most people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed as children. This life-changing diagnosis affects the whole family, and raising a child with type 1 diabetes causes a great deal of fear and stress. Although there is research about parents currently raising children with diabetes, no research has looked at the perspective of parents who have raised their child with diabetes to adulthood. Looking back on the entire experience, a parent has greater perspective and added insight as to how healthcare professionals can best help families with a child with diabetes.


My project is based off of a larger research project exploring the experiences of parents who have raised their children with type 1 diabetes. After IRB approval, we interviewed eighteen parents who had a child (or children) diagnosed before the age of eighteen, and who have now raised that child to adulthood. We first conducted an interview where participants were simply asked to describe, in their own words, their experiences raising their child (or children) with type 1 diabetes. In a second interview, we asked parents eight specific questions, such as, “What challenges do you remember?” We transcribed the interviews and then analyzed them for patterns and major themes. My research focuses on parent insights on their interactions with healthcare professionals. This theme was a common topic of discussion by research participants.


  • Families of a newly diagnosed child go through a great deal of grief. Healthcare professionals must address emotional needs and provide support.
  • Healthcare professionals should teach children in an age-appropriate manner. Both parents and children need to be involved in the education process.
  • It is distressing for parents of a newly diagnosed child when healthcare professionals make the negative consequences of poorly controlled glucose levels the focal point of the discussion on diabetes management.
  • In the weeks following a new diagnosis, it is helpful for parents to have someone they can call 24/7.
  • Families need to have a close-working relationship with trusted healthcare professionals as they raise their children with type 1 diabetes.

Implications for translation to practice

Nurses can provide better care to families with a child (or children) with diabetes by addressing emotional needs of families, educating families in a thorough and positive manner, and providing continual support.



Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1; Parents; Chronic Disease; Pediatrics; Interactions with Healthcare Professionals

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