Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Nursing


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Miriam Langridge

Second Supervisor

Yvonne Hauck


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the essential structure of the lived experience of what it was to be a resident parent on the ward in a public hospital with a sick infant. Many studies have highlighted both benefits and problems associated with the concept of parental participation in care. The role of the parents in hospital needs to be identified and expressed by both the parents and the nurses, in order to ellucidate the needs of parents who live in with their sick infant. Eight parents were interviewed regarding their experiences of "living in" the hospital with their sick infant and the information analysed. Data were generated from audio taped, open-ended interviews and the researcher's observational field notes. All data were analysed using the method described by Colaizzi (1978), which was to describe, interpret, and extrapolate common themes and meanings from that data. The data included significant statements which were clustered into themes. Validity and reliability were confirmed throughout data collection and analysis. Four key themes emerged from the data: Internal Reactions, The Issue of Communication, Role Boundaries, and Learning to Deal with Hospitalisation. The Roy Adaptation Model (1984) was used to provide a second level of analysis. The Model demonstrated some applicability to the experiences of the participants in the study and showed commonalities with other human responses.