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Creating a Meeting Point of Understanding: Interpreters’ Experiences in Swedish Childhood Cancer Care

Journal title
Journal of pediatric oncology nursing : official journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses
Publication year
Granhagen Jungner, J.; Tiselius, E.; Lutzen, K.; Blomgren, K.; Pergert, P.

PURPOSE: Children and families with a foreign background and limited Swedish proficiency have to communicate through interpreters in childhood cancer care centers in Sweden. Interpreter-mediated events deal with many difficulties that potentially hinder the transfer of information. The purpose of our study was to explore interpreters’ experiences of interpreting between health care staff and limited Swedish proficiency patients/families in childhood cancer care. DESIGN: Using purposive samples, we interviewed 11 interpreters individually. The interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. FINDINGS: Analyses of the data resulted in the main theme of creating a meeting point of understanding, constructed from 3 subthemes: balancing between cultures, bridging the gaps of knowledge, and balancing between compassion and professionalism. DISCUSSION: Our result shows that in order to create a sustainable meeting point of understanding, it is necessary to explain both the context and cultural differences. These results suggest that the responsibility for information transfer lies with both the health care profession and the interpreters. Tools have to be developed for both parties to contribute to creating the meeting point of understanding.

Research abstracts