DOI: 10.1002/pbc.30816 ISSN: 1545-5009

A nursing perspective on inpatient sleep and circadian disruptions for pediatric stem cell transplant patients

Eric S. Zhou, Anna Revette, Julie Waitt, Leslie E. Lehmann, Lisa R. Diller, Karen M. Emmons, Ariana F. Valenzuela, Susan Redline
  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health



Children treated with stem cell transplant (SCT) are routinely hospitalized for long periods where they are exposed to significant sleep and circadian disruptions. As nurses play a primary role in symptom management during SCT, we sought to understand their perspective on patient sleep and circadian disruptions, perceived barriers to a good sleep and circadian environment, and suggestions for improvement.


Four focus groups were conducted with pediatric SCT nurses (N = 25 participants). A semistructured focus group guide was administered, with the discussions recorded and transcribed. A multistage thematic analysis combining prefigured and emergent dimensions was conducted. Our analysis focused on drawing comparisons within and across focus groups to understand the unique work experiences that participants had related to the patient's sleep and circadian environment.


Three key themes emerged. First, nurses expressed a high awareness of how disruptive the hospital environment is for patients. Second, nurses described their extensive efforts to try to minimize the impact of these disruptions. Finally, they provided clear recommendations for how to improve upon these concerns, along with barriers that they perceive could impede implementation.


Front‐line caregivers on a pediatric SCT unit describe key contributors to sleep/circadian disturbances for patients. Within the constraints of the considerable medical needs of this patient population and the physical room/hospital environment, nurses strive to minimize these disruptions to the best of their ability. It is crucial that hospitals assess and remediate these disturbances for these children that have important implications for overall health.

More from our Archive