Hospital Orientation

Isn't parenting something? Just when you think you've got it all figured out, your children grow to a new stage in their development, or they get sick, or injured, or are confronted with a million other circumstances that call for a "regrouping" of parenting skills.

Hospitalization is one of the events in a child's life that puts tough demands on parenting. When you learn that Jeffrey must stay in the hospital, you may wonder what your role should be. It's a role that's foreign to many parents, and one that requires attention and practice. It's also a role crucial in its effect on Jeffrey's ability to cope. In a nutshell, you are his parents, and that's what's expected of you in the hospital, just as you expect it of yourself at home. To be his parents. It's important to remember that you are the expert in parenting Jeffrey, more expert in that role than the nurses, or physicians, or child life therapists, or any other of the health professionals that you meet.

In fact, you can help them all to learn about Jeffrey; about what makes him tick, how he comforts himself, and what he understands about what's happening. You serve a crucial function in this parenting role. You are his guide, and the best of all comforters. The nurses consider part of their role to be helping you in this parenting challenge, so don't hesitate to ask for their assistance.

When you bring Amy to the hospital, you may have a myriad of emotional responses. Most parents do. Fear, anger, guilt and sadness are all normal, albeit difficult reactions to her hospitalization. Come to the next page to take a look at some strategies that might help you to deal with those feelings. 


Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004