10:30 AM

Nursing Value: Respect — Communication with Caregivers

Improving communication for Spanish-speaking families

Jennifer Stephen RNFor parents whose children are in the hospital, communication with caregivers is key. One nurse realized the challenges Spanish-speaking parents experienced and wanted to make a difference. 

Jennifer Stephen, Ph.D., RN, CPN, who has served as a nurse at Cook Children’s for 29 years, has a special interest in health equity for children and families. For her Ph.D. project, she explored the culturally congruent care needs of Spanish speaking parents who speak little to no English. 

She interviewed 11 parents who identified as having limited English proficiency with children ages eight or younger. 

“We touched on several topics including family, social support and technology,” Jennifer said. 

Jennifer obtained grants from the Society of Pediatric Nurses, DAISY Foundation and Transcultural Nursing Society. After collecting information, Jennifer analyzed the qualitative pieces looking for categories, patterns and themes. The three themes were: 

• Role of the mother as an ever-present manager of care for the hospitalized child 
• Parents felt negative feelings about their child being in the hospital, but said their child received good care 
• Parents expected nursing care to be kind, compassionate, attentive and considerate 

Jennifer discovered parents did not realize they had a right to an interpreter. She wanted to empower them and let them know how to access language services. 

“The goal is to put processes in place that are automatic and make it smooth and easy for these families to have the language access they need,” Jennifer said. 

Jennifer’s manuscript was published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing, and presented at the Society of Pediatric Nurses conference in the spring of 2023. 

“The whole process was very enlightening,” Jennifer said. “For these parents, taking the time to communicate meant that you were caring. My hope is to help develop processes and interventions through participatory action research that will facilitate communication with nurses and parents.”