The Development of Rapport with Children and Families in Hospital Settings

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Robertson, Lacey
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The focus of this research study was to interview child life specialists in order to a) better understand the meaning of the concept of rapport, b) identify ways in which rapport is established and maintained, as well as c) determine the purpose and outcomes following the establishment of rapport between child life specialists and children. Relationships that have established a level of rapport are described as comfortable, supportive and welcoming (Gurland & Grolnick, 2008; McCue, 2009). Twelve certified child life specialists participated in the interview process. Thematic analysis was used to review the qualitative data for basic and organizing themes which resulted in the development of global themes. The six global themes identified are 1) academic and childhood experiences, 2) description of rapport, 3) initiation of rapport, 4) maintenance of rapport, 5) indicators of rapport, and 6) rapport is essential. Respondents agreed that building rapport is an essential foundation for establishing and maintaining relationships between child life specialists and children. The study results may be used by students, clinicians and academicians to initiate the discussion on the concept of rapport within the child life context. Research in a variety of clinical settings with child life specialists of varying years of experience is needed in order to better understand the role that rapport has in child life practice. Additional research methods such as face-to-face interviews or clinical observations may also provide opportunity to expand the findings of this study.
Child life specialists , Hospital setting , Rapport , Children , Research , Clinical setting