Youth Work in the Hospital Setting — A Narrative Review of the Literature

Marie Marshall, Gillian Waring

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a narrative literature review on the evidence relating to the youth worker role with young people in the hospital setting, within which the research gaps and inconsistencies within the body of knowledge available are highlighted. Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO, AMED and British Nursing Index databases were searched and screened for papers which involved the youth worker role with young people in a hospital setting. Data relating to the youth workers who worked with young people in the hospital setting were extracted by two independent reviewers. A total of 11 papers were identified dating from 1971 to 2018, from a range of countries. In order to present the available body of knowledge, this narrative synthesis of the literature is presented under three headings: descriptive work, service evaluation and empirical research. The findings suggest that the youth worker role in the hospital setting has a positive impact upon the lives of young people and this was accomplished through the interventions the youth worker employed when working with young people. Equally, challenges were highlighted relating to the youth worker undertaking their role in the hospital setting. However, changes during this time period in attitudes towards adolescent health particularly within the United Kingdom, along with the loss of funding for youth work has had an impact on the research in this area of clinical practice. The number of descriptive papers in this review, highlights the necessity for empirical evidence in both quantitative and qualitative research in order to gain a greater understanding of what the youth worker role in the hospital provides to young people and the impact of their interventions from the perspectives of young people, parents, youth workers and members of the multi-disciplinary team.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-257
Number of pages18
JournalComprehensive Child and Adolescent Nursing
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


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