Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Mary C. Garner


This project focused on identifying the best evidence available on the use of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for pediatric patients and families with sickle cell disease (SCD) to improve their coping skills with pain management. This resulted from an identified gap in nursing practice regarding psychosocial support for this subset of hospitalized pediatric patients. The practice-focused question was whether there was evidence in the literature on the use of CBT techniques to improve parental coping skills with children who have chronic and life-threatening illness that could be utilized with sickle cell disease. The theory of stress and coping guided the underpinnings of the study process. The Johns Hopkins Nursing evidence-based practice model (JHNEBP) was the framework for this project. A systematic review was conducted utilizing research-based articles from the major healthcare databases. The original search resulted in over 12,000 articles. This pool was further refined based upon a link between the pediatric population with chronic or life-threatening conditions and family coping skills. This was further narrowed down based on the use of social-cognitive therapy and coping skills. This process resulted in 6 research articles on the use of CBT with the target population. An evaluation of these studies found evidence that CBT can improve parental coping skills. Nursing support for parental coping with SCD has the positive social impact of decreased parental stress and improved quality of life for both the child and the family unit.