An exploration of the experiences and perceptions of children aged 4-12 years with long term conditions of being held for clinical procedures in acute hospital settings

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Children undergoing clinical procedures in acute hospital settings can experience fear, pain and anxiety which can cause them to resist procedures. When children resist procedures, they may be held still for a procedure to be completed. Most literature examines the perspectives of parents and professionals of clinical procedures and specifically the use of clinical holding to complete a procedure. There is little evidence of the directly reported perspectives of children.

This study aimed to explore children’s experiences and perceptions of having a clinical procedure and being held for a procedure. A child-centred qualitative approach using augmented interviews was used to engage with 22 children with long term conditions across two field-work sites.

Children described that it helped them during their procedures if they knew what was going to happen, knew that they could have some choices and knew they would be listened to; this ‘certainty’ and ‘control’ was reported as helping them manage and construct ways to ‘get through’ their procedure. Children demonstrated that they understood the reasons for their procedure and why holding was used. They also discussed the importance of communication and trust with parents and health care professionals when they were being held.

These findings are discussed within the model of Children’s Experiential Procedural Learning Cycle which is an adaptation of Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning cycle. This model critically examines what and how children with long term conditions learnt during their multiple experiences of clinical procedures and being held.

This study adds to existing evidence relating to children’s experiences of being held for clinical procedures and the supportive measures which can promote children’s positive experiences of procedures.
Date of Award24 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorLUCY BRAY (Director of Studies), BERNIE CARTER (Supervisor) & BARBARA JACK (Supervisor)


  • clinical holding
  • Children
  • long term conditions
  • experiential learning
  • clinical procedures

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