As nurse practitioners, learning to communicate with pediatrics patients determines success in patient care. When children are communicated with in a way they are able to understand, they are more cooperative with treatments and less anxious about procedures, often to the astonishment of parents. As a pediatric nurse practitioner, parents often would ask for advice about how to talk with their children about stressful life events such as divorce, military deployment of a parent, or a change of schools, to name a few. In these situations, parents would require education and support while they navigated through these stressful events with their children. Parents are now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that impacts every aspect of family functioning and life.

Children account for 8.8% of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S., have milder symptoms, and a lower mortality rate as compared to adults, according to the CDC. However, the psychosocial impacts of the disease from the death of a loved one, extended separation from parents due to quarantine or hospitalization, and the impact of mitigation efforts such as school/daycare closure, parental job loss, and social isolation can lead to long-lasting psychological effects on children. Studies have indicated that prolonged separation from parents, isolation, and quarantine can lead to a post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression in children well after the period of isolation and quarantine have ended. However, studies have indicated that the impact of natural disasters, terminal illness, and national emergencies on children can be mitigated when they are given accurate, honest information communicated in a way that they can understand. Nurse practitioners can learn from these events and apply communication strategies used in the above situations to the pandemic. Therefore, what can nurse practitioners do to support parents as they try to communicate with their children about the COVID-19 virus?

Share This