Parental collaboration is essential to the care of children with neuroblastoma undergoing treatment with 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG), a high-dose intravenous radiotherapy. These findings were published in the Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing.

After 131I-MIBG infusion, patients are isolated for 3 to 7 days. This disrupts normal nursing tasks and places additional care responsibilities on the child’s parents.

Nurses who cared for a child treated with 131I-MIBG therapy were passively recruited for this study via flyers posted in pediatric oncology units. A total of 10 nurses participated in semistructured interviews about their experiences.

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The majority of nurses had cared for a single pediatric patient undergoing treatment in the previous 6 months (60%), were women (90%), and were White (80%). They had an average of 11.7 years of nursing experience and 9.2 years of pediatric oncology nursing experience.

All the nurses described 131I-MIBG care as “hands-off care” due to patient isolation. This resulted in nurses reporting a decreased sense of connection with their patients.

The nurses felt that parents were essential for post-131I-MIBG care delivery, as the parents must step in and provide the 1-on-1 care that the nurses cannot perform during isolation. However, problems arose when parents were not engaged, and nurses had to work at motivating the parents to deliver medication or perform other nursing tasks.

Most nurses reported feeling anxiety before their first 131I-MIBG patient case but confident thereafter. The most commonly endorsed supportive tool was the information binder describing protocols.

Radiation exposure also was a concern for most nurses, especially those who were women of childbearing age.

The major limitation of this study was the small sample size.

This study found that nursing care for pediatric patients undergoing 131I-MIBG therapy is complex and relies heavily on parental collaboration.


Lankin K, LaFond CM, Yost A. Nurses’ experiences caring for children with neuroblastoma receiving 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine therapy: a qualitative descriptive study. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol Nurs. Published online January 23, 2023. doi:10.1177/27527530221140070