Anilda Peña

University of Rhode Island



Mentor: Dr. Raelene V. Shippee-Rice, Ph.D., RN and Dr. Pamela Pershing DiNapoli, Ph.D., RN.

Do Preoperative Teaching Tours Affect Anxiety in Children?

More than half a million children undergo surgery annually, and one out of every four children will have had a hospital stay before they reach age five. Although extreme emotional responses to hospitalization are rare, at least 60% of children will demonstrate signs of stress-related anxiety during their preoperative assessment. The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of Pediatric Preoperative Teaching Tours on anxiety in school-aged children undergoing surgery. There was also a component of the study that determined if there was a correlation between parental anxiety and their child’s anxiety.

The sample consisted of 30 children ages 6-12 and 30 parents. The children underwent elective day surgeries at a regional community hospital in central New Hampshire. The Day Surgery Center at the hospital provided the pediatric patients and their parents with a voluntary preoperative teaching tour of the surgical area. There were two groups, a control group and an experimental group. The experimental group went through the tour, while the control group did not.

Questionnaires based on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were used to collect the information needed for this project. The questionnaires, completed by both the child and parent, asked if the child had surgery before and if they participated in a preoperative teaching tour.

Study results are expected to show that 1) children who participate in the tour will have lower levels of anxiety than those who do not and 2) there will be a positive correlation between child’s level of anxiety and parental anxiety.

T-test was used to measure mean anxiety scores of the control and experimental groups. Pearson’s Correlation was used to correlate the level of anxiety between parents and children.

Results of this on going pilot study will contribute to improving care of children undergoing surgery.

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