Parental decision-making in pediatric intensive care: A concept analysis

Lorena Sánchez-Rubio, Lisa M. Cleveland, María Mercedes Durán de Villalobos, Jacqueline M. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The development of nursing knowledge requires a close relationship between theory, research, and practice. The purpose of the analysis of the concept of “parental decision-making in pediatric critical care” is to facilitate nurses' therapeutic care of critically ill children and their families. To construct, structure, and give meaning to the concept, we use our experience in the field, critical reading of the literature, and careful analysis of data that have emerged about parental decision-making in pediatric intensive care. Several factors affect parent's ability to act as decision-makers: the psychosocial and physical disorders they develop, the subordination of their parental roles by the health care team, and the child's critical state of health. While different disciplines, including nursing, have well described the decision-making concept, parental decision-making in the context of pediatric intensive care has not been as well delineated. Nursing science recognizes the importance of decision-making and has incorporated the concept as an essential domain of its philosophical and disciplinary interests. Following the method proposed by Walker and Avant, the concept was analyzed, attributes, background, and consequences described. A model case was presented and discussed. An operational definition emerges, providing knowledge for professional nursing practice and will be the basis for an essential theoretical development around this phenomenon. Parents' recognition, the promotion of family-centered care, and shared decisions are ideal for encouraging parental participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Decision-making
  • Neonatal intensive care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing theory
  • Parents
  • Pediatric intensive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


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