Children with Cancer: Communication, an Essential Component of Care

  • Faith GibsonEmail author
Part of the Principles of Specialty Nursing book series (PSN)


There is no doubt among experts that improved communication will help children and young people better understand, prepare for, and cope with their illness, the procedures they may undergo, discharge from hospital, return to school, any relapses that may occur, and in some cases, their last weeks of life. There is also evidence to suggest that children and young people should be involved in decisions that affect them when they are able to do so and that most would like to be active participants in their health care, or at least have the choice to participate. Nurses are well situated to share information and be a conduit for the translation of complex information. Essential for success is the need to understand the needs and preferences of parents/carers, children and young people, and the tailoring of information requires appreciation of these triadic encounters and the roles that each member takes, as well as how these roles change over time. We have a research programme, dedicated to improving communication in children’s cancer care, to ensure timely access to high quality information for parents and their children. It is this programme of research that I will draw upon as the basis for this chapter, using evidence from our own research as well as published work to offer insights and practical suggestions for approaching and managing complex interactions.


Children Young people Parents/carers Communication strategies 



Thank you to researchers who have actively participated in this research programme, in the past Stephanie Kumpunen, Maire Horstman and Liz Forbat and the present Susie Aldiss and Gemma Bryan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Outcomes and Experience Research in Children’s Health, Illness and Disability (ORCHID), Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Faculty of Health and Medical SciencesUniversity of SurreyLondonUK

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