Psychological Preparation of Children for Surgery: Awareness Survey Targeting Medical Professionals


The objective of this study was to conduct a nation-wide survey to investigate the state of: 1) the prevalence of psychological preparation of children undergoing surgery; and 2) the awareness of psychological preparation of children by medical professionals (physicians and nurses). We also aimed to identify the issues that need to be addressed next. A total of 178 physicians and 291 nurses working in hospitals where children undergo surgeries participated in this study. Anonymous self-administered questionnaire survey. Physicians and nurses in Japan are aware of the need to provide age-appropriate psychological preparation for children undergoing medical procedures. In current practice, however, our study revealed that surgical orientations are given solely to parents in the absence of the child in approximately 30% of cases. While approximately 60% of respondents felt that the uses of “children’s picture books and booklets” are good methods for delivering explanations to children, only about 20% of respondents were implementing psychological preparation specific to each age group, and half of the respondents were providing verbal explanations alone. Meanwhile, 77% responded that it is “time-consuming” and 48% said, “on the contrary, it may heighten their anxiety”. Also 34.3% said that they “do not know how to explain to a child” and 54.8% of these medical professionals worked in mixed wards. We observed a gap between ideal requirements and current practices. We found that it is essential to: 1) organize training sessions for knowledge acquisition; 2) consciously strive to be informed of the actual post-surgery conditions and outcomes of the children; and 3) acquire physical and financial support.

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Matsumori, N. (2014) Psychological Preparation of Children for Surgery: Awareness Survey Targeting Medical Professionals. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 564-575. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.47059.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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