Parents perceptions of school nurses roles: The impact of communication on students with autism spectrum disorder

Constance McIntosh, Jayanthi Kandiah, Lesie J. Remache


This qualitative study used the nursing grounding theory to describe parents' experiences working with school nurses to elevate their child’s healthcare. Seventeen interviews were conducted with parents/primary caregivers (P/PCG) who had children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; ages six to ten). Through centering parents’ voices, the investigators were able to identify gaps in P/CG understanding of their school nurses’ roles through thematic analyses. We found that P/CG lacked the understanding of school nurses' roles and how school nurses could aid their child’s healthcare. The oversight of school nurses contributed to miscommunication, which constrained the relationship between the parent and the school nurse. These findings provide insight into the importance of enhancing communication between the parents of children with ASD and school nurses and was the catalyst to why this article was written. When healthcare professionals provide clarity and expertise to parents as to their respective roles, incorporate perspective-taking, and tailor their approaches based on their concerns, it may enhance parents’ experiences with their school nurses. In addition, school nurses should consider various routes of engaging parents so they have a deeper understanding of their responsibilities in enhancing the healthcare of children with ASD.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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