Date of Award

Spring 1990

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Hospitalization for any child is traumatic; Admittance into the pediatric intensive care unit magnifies the threats that the child faces, taxing the child's limited coping capacities. Preschoolers are exceptionally vulnerable to the invasive nature of the intensive care unit due to their developmental capacities. To provide holistic care, the professional nurse needs to be keenly aware of the child's developmental level along with the stressors that may infringe upon the child's level of functioning. This essay examines preschoolers' developmental stages, tasks and fears. It addresses the stressors inherent in the pediatric intensive care unit, and describes preschoolers' vulnerability to them. Finally, this essay offers functional interventions to facilitate coping in preschoolers hospitalized in the intensive care unit. These interventions are incorporated into three sample nursing care plans.