Equal opportunities for children are in general regarded as crucial; nevertheless, children are still often treated differently due to their sex. This could limit a child’s inherent way of expressing him/herself. Nurses need to be aware of how gender constructions influence their interactions with children. The aim of this study was to illuminate interpretative repertoires that a group of nurses use when communicating with children during blood test procedures in two children’s hospitals in Sweden. Data was collected by semi-structured observations of nurses conducting blood test procedures on children, and the observations were analyzed using discourse psychology. Two main groups of interpretative repertoires were found. In one group the repertoires were supporting gender stereotyping and in the other group the repertoires were weakening gender stereotyping. In conclusion, nurses’ interactions with children during procedures offer the children different socially and culturally constructed interpretative repertoires about gender. Increased consciousness of gender issues is needed among nurses to enable children to be and act freely, without being forced into limited gendered expectations.

Keywords: discourse psychology, interaction, observations, pediatric nursing