Exploring the experiences of nurses who care for children who have Acute Life Threatening Events (ALTE) in hospital

  • Adrienne Hudson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis presents a program of work designed to explore and describe what the experience of caring for a child who has an Acute Life Threatening Event (ALTE) is like for the nurses. An ALTE may include a cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest or unplanned admission for a ward to the Paediatric Intensive Care unit. Using the MRC framework for the development of complex interventions, this information was then coupled with theory to develop the PREPARE and SUPPORT interventions. Given the wide-ranging and exploratory nature of this research, a pragmatic, mixed design approach was used to address the aims and objectives of the thesis. The mixed design approach included: a systematic literature review; international survey of practice; interviews with nurses and doctors using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis; development, refinement and evaluation of interventions during a feasibility study. Two studies were identified through the systematic review which aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of debriefing. The studies did not provide evidence to support the use of these interventions within healthcare. The international survey of practice demonstrated hospitals were using interventions to both prepare and support nurses for these events. The preparatory interventions were clinically focused and the majority of the supportive interventions included a debrief. The interventions were not being evaluated for effectiveness. The interviews conducted with nurses and doctors provided insight into what that experience was like for the participants. Using the MRC framework, this evidence was coupled with theory to develop the PREPARE and SUPPORT interventions. A multidisciplinary working party used an iterative process to refine and evaluate the interventions and study procedures were explored through a feasibility study. The pragmatic, mixed design approach demonstrated how the empirical evidence was coupled with theory and clinical expertise to develop interventions for use within the healthcare environment.
Date of Award17 Mar 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRachel Shaw (Supervisor)


  • Acute Life Threatening Event (ALTE)
  • prepare
  • support
  • self-efficacy
  • stress and coping theory

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