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Mothers/companions of children with cancer: apprehension of the hospital culture



To analyze the apprehension of hospital culture by mothers/companions of children with cancer and discuss the construction of symbolic systems by mothers and their implications for the practice of pediatric nursing.


This is a qualitative study. Twelve mothers who accompanied their children with cancer admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit participated in the non-directive group interviews. The theoretical framework is linked to the concept of culture by Clifford Geertz. The data collected were submitted to thematic analysis.


Mothers establish interaction in the hospital, acquire technical knowledge and scientific terminologies and apprehend the care recover their autonomy with the hospitalized child. They build significant symbols such as: leadership, decision making and search for information.


Cancer makes mothers/companions strong enough to create symbolic systems that help them survive in the hospital environment. The nursing staff should help these mothers recover their autonomy.

Hospitalized Child; Neoplasms; Pediatric Intensive Care Units

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