to the empowerment model, both family and professionals share the same motivational
or the belief in ones own capabilities. Parents who believe they can
care for their child and enhance the childs quality of life have high
self-efficacy. Professionals with high self-efficacy encourage parents to
believe more in their own abilities. This mutuality makes empowerment a reciprocal
matter. Partners who believe in their own effectiveness will act, and their
actions will encourage others to be more effective.
Nurses should discourage parents from believing that they can care for their
children, and encourage them to depend on professionals for key decisions.
- Perceived control,
or the belief that partners can use their own capabilities to affect what
happens to the child. Rather than following the traditional medical model
of power over parents, professionals in the empowerment model share their
expertise and encourage parental choice. Because nurses are usually adept
at sharing knowledge and involving families in decision-making, they do a
good job of improving the parents perceived control.
Parents of children with disabilities have enough to handle at home, and should
not be expected to participate in decision-making meetings.
- Great expectations,
the belief that ones vision will come true. The focus changes from negative
outcomes and the childs disabilities to a realistic collective vision
that looks at what the child can achieve. Nurses can be influential in this
change process and can help the family move toward an achievable and pleasurable
image of the childs future.
Nurses working with the family should make sure that the family stays focused
on the childís limitations, so they donít get disappointed in the future.
- Energy, the spark
that allows partners to take the first steps toward action and also to keep
going. Initially, there may be a mobilizing event (the childs birth
or diagnosis of disability) that sparks the fire. Subsequent bursts of energy
are necessary to continue the time and labor intensive process of empowerment.
Nurses with a good understanding of the family system are in a great position
to light the spark at just the right moment.
Because they are so involved in the day-to-day care of their child, parents
will naturally have enough energy for empowerment all the time.
- Persistence in pursuing
goals. Tenacity and the ability to work through many series of trial and
error approaches are key components of persistence, as the family works toward
goals related to the child. Its often helpful to remind the family of
everything theyve accomplished with their child, and help them to focus
on achievable short-term goals.
Parents should be discouraged from trial-and-error, because it wastes time.