Life Transitions During Acute Illness

Construct: Professional Development and Identity: Holism

Macro concept: Family Care

Micro concept: Professional Integrity

Curricular concept: Care Competencies

Exemplar: Holistic Nursing Process, Therapeutic & Professional Communication

PSLO: #7

Competencies: 7A, 7B, 7O CO # 1, 3, 5, 7

Purpose of Assignment: 

To explore understanding of a family’s transition in role changes through use of the interview technique. Advancement of skills in utilizing the interview process to gather data. Describe a family in acute life transition from the client and care giver roles, considering cultural influences and social justice inequities. Evaluation of insights gained as a nurse understanding perspectives of individual and family during a family’s ability to move through a life changing transition.


1.Conduct comprehensive and focused assessments of health and illness parameters in individuals, families and communities using developmentally and culturally appropriate approaches

2. Recognize relationship of genetics and genomes to health transitions

3. Advocate for social justice with emphasis on the health of vulnerable individuals, families and communities

Readings: Prior to interview review therapeutic communication techniques in

Prater, D., Lenox, S., Renner, M., Tallmadge, M., & Von Lunen, K. (Eds.). (2016). Fundamentals for         nursing: Edition 9.0: ATI.

The Student will:

  1. Choose a family other than your own who is experiencing an acute transition. Pick either option A & C or option B & C.
    1. The family experiencing a patient diagnosed in the past six months with an acute illness (mental health or physiological health) causing significant change in family processes or exacerbation of a chronic condition or co-morbidity; or a chronic condition newly diagnosed not more than one year ago. This may also include an unexpected outcome during birth.
    1. The family who experienced the unexpected death of an immediate household family member in the past year.
    1. The family will be from a culture different than your own. (e.g. ethnicity, religious, socio-economic, gender, urban or rural etc.).
  2. Reflect upon the following topics while interviewing the family members: 
  3. Baseline health and functioning considering how the acute event changed the dynamics of the family assimilation of physical changes.
  4. Emotional, developmental, socioeconomic, cultural, spiritual, and environmental factors on the adaptive response of the family. 
  5. Compose a formal paper using concise communication in APA format including a title page, introduction, headers, headings, conclusion and reference page. The body of the paper should be 3-4 pages (this does not include the title or reference pages). This paper body will not be read or graded past 4 1/2 pages.
  6. Follow the Rubric to report findings.

Collect Data: (please use the numbered topics as headings to guide your paper-do not add)

  1. Family Structure and Demographics
    1. Who lives in the home and their ages? Identify the patient. (Remember HIPAA). Who is present for the interview?
    1. Educational level, occupation, socioeconomic status, and geographic area of interviewee. Consider social inequities of vulnerable populations that may be present.
  2. Cultural Influence – Reference at least one journal article describing this culture and “life transition” during illness.
    1. Describe background information about the culture and health care beliefs of the family. Do they follow the traditional culture?
    1. Compare and contrast family beliefs; how they are different or similar to your own culture.

(This paper is merely to communicate information and compare cultural beliefs and practices about health care and not to argue a point.)

  • Acute illness and Accepting the Transition
    • Discuss holistically the health history genetics and genomics of the illness, and perception of health related to culture and environment and how these impacted the Treatment Options or Death Story.
    • As a family, how is stress handled? Include support and stress relief for the caregiver/family and any dysfunctional situations including social inequities present or barriers to wellness (Abuse, Depression, Isolation, etc.)
    • Discuss perception of life transition and what transitions and role changes were planned? Explain; e.g. who pays bills, who stopped working to care for ill person, who are the decision makers? Etc.

Nursing Insights:

  1. Evaluate your interview and specific nursing therapeutic communication techniques.
    1. How did the interview progress?
    1. What went well, what could be improved?
  2. Discuss insights you gained from this individual/family.


Summary of key points of the paper. There should be no new information in the conclusion.

References:                                                                                                                                                                                Utilize APA Format – Information found at: NHCC web site,, Library, Doing Library Research, Citing sources in the APA style, APA Text Book.                                                                                                                                       Include at least

  1. one peer reviewed article from a nursing journal less than 5 years old,
  2. and one culture related article.

Other references may include family coping, transitions and text to support physical health.

Be sure to thank the family for their time and information.

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