Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Nursing




Bonnie Sturm, EdD

Committee Member

Judith Lothian, PhD

Committee Member

Munira Wells, PhD


pediatric emergency nursing, emergency services, pediatric nursing care, limited-English proficiency, certified professional medical interpreters.


Effective pediatric emergency care requires ongoing communication between the pediatric patient and their family. There may be additional challenges for pediatric emergency nurses (PENs) to consider in their efforts to provide safe quality nursing care to pediatric patients and families with limited English proficiency. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the experience of PENs who are engaged in providing care to pediatric patients and families with limited-English proficiency (LEP) in a pediatric emergency department. Using an interpretive description method, semi-structured interviews conducted with 15 PENs and five certified professional medical interpreters (CPMIs) were analyzed. The study illustrates the PENs’ descriptions of their experiences and challenges initiating care in triage, providing care while maintaining ongoing communication when informing, updating, and educating patients/families with LEP. Some PENs described feeling empathy for their patients/families when receiving critical news and wished they could clearly express their emotions directly to the patients/families. Although the CPMIs found their work rewarding in helping patients/families with LEP, they described their experiences as challenging, and unexpectedly traumatizing at times. This study revealed that safe, quality, and compassionate provision of care for patients/families with LEP not only requires the availability of appropriate interpretative services, but also the professional development and support to the PENs and CPMIs experiencing challenges in their efforts to meet the healthcare needs of patients/families with LEP, a population which continues to grow in the United States.

Included in

Nursing Commons