Supportive Care

Creative Play: A Nursing Intervention for Children and Adults With Cancer

Adrienne S. Schleisman

Elaine Mahon

pediatrics, oncology nursing, play, distress
CJON 2018, 22(2), 137-140. DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.137-140

Pediatric patients undergoing treatment for oncology diagnoses are likely to experience stress, anxiety, and social isolation. One role of a pediatric oncology nurse is to incorporate play into daily hospital routines. By using medical and normative play, nurses can decrease distress and promote normal growth and development. However, the use of play is not limited to pediatric patients. Oncology nurses who work with adults can incorporate similar strategies within their patient populations to reduce anxiety and stress and to improve quality of life.


  • Patients with cancer are highly likely to experience distress during treatment.
  • Nurses in all oncology settings can incorporate activities like play into patients’ daily routines to alleviate stress and anxiety.
  • Reducing patient stress increases treatment adherence, promotes positive coping abilities, and improves quality of life.
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