Being Fully Present: Gains Patients Attribute to a Telephone-Delivered Parenting Program for Child-Rearing Mothers With Cancer

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Oncology nurses can assist patients in gaining skills and confidence in multiple areas of illness self-management, including parenting skills. Child-rearing parents with cancer are a unique population because they must self-manage their illness and also help their child manage the intrusion of cancer on everyday life. The telephone offers an inexpensive channel for nurses to assist mothers in developing competencies to parent their child. The acceptability and attributed gains from such telephone services are unknown.


The aims of this study were to (1) describe the gains child-rearing mothers attribute to participation in a nurse-delivered telephone cancer parenting program and (2) assess mothers’ evaluation of the telephone as a channel for delivering the program.


Study participants were child-rearing mothers diagnosed with cancer (N = 31) who had completed a manualized telephone-delivered cancer parenting program by a nurse. Mothers were interviewed 1 month after exiting the program by a specially trained interviewer masked on the content of the program.


Most mothers were white (74%), highly educated, and had breast cancer (93.5%). Mothers attributed gains from the program in 3 areas: (1) being fully present for my child, (2) communicating in new ways, and (3) putting away my assumptions.


Communication skills learned from nurses can assist mothers to self-manage the impact of the cancer on their own well-being and add to their parenting skills and competencies to help their children.

Implications for Practice:

The telephone is an effective and indeed preferred channel for delivering services to child-rearing parents impacted by cancer.

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