Bild tagen av Emilia Pergert

Pernilla Pergert

Principal researcher

I am an associate professor and the leader of the “Childhood Cancer Healthcare Research” group performing research in Intercultural Care & Clinical Ethics in paediatric cancer care.

About me

I am an associate professor of Paediatric Care Science and the leader of the “Childhood Cancer Healthcare Research” group at KI. I perform research in Intercultural Care & Clinical Ethics. The research aims at increasing knowledge about social patterns of behaviours, the communication and interactions between patients/families and healthcare professionals with different cultures/languages, ​​and how ethically difficult situations can be handled. I am also a paediatric nurse specialist and worked for approximately 13 years with paediatric cancer care at Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital/Solna (KS). Since 2014, I am on leave from my clinical employment, but I am passionate about paediatric cancer care, and I am still working with R & D issues and clinical ethics support (e.g. as a member of a R & D group and the paediatric ethics committee at Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital and as a member of a Nordic working group in ethics in paediatric cancer care). I am also involved in education and research in global paediatric oncology nursing, for example through the work of World Child Cancer in Ghana.

I am active in several international collaborations, for example:

  • NOPHO/NOBOS working group in ethics (Member 2008-still, Chair 2014-2018), which aims to be a Nordic competence group that develops and disseminates knowledge and methods for ethical support in paediatric oncology.
  • SIOP (International Society of Paediatric Oncology), I have been active in the Scientific Committee (2018–2021) and the Nursing Steering Committee (Member 2015-2021, Chairman 2016-2018). Furthermore, I am active member of the:
    • Nursing Specialists of the WHO, Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC) 2019-still
    • Past & Present SIOP Nursing Steering Group (2022-still)
  • European Clinical Ethics Network (ECEN), I am a member representing Sweden since 2018 and I am also a member of the steering committee (2019-still) 
  • International Grounded Theory Alliance (2020-still), a founding member organizing webinars and conferences.


Areas of interest/competence: paediatric oncology, nursing/healthcare research, intercultural care, global health, clinical ethics, clinical ethics support services, grounded theory method, qualitative research methodology.

Research description

My research aims to improve paediatric cancer care. In 2008 I defended my dissertation on transcultural caring relationships in paediatric cancer care. In the Childhood Cancer Healthcare Research group, we perform research in two closely related areas: intercultural care and clinical ethics.

Intercultural care includes studies on experiences and main concerns of healthcare professionals, patients, parents, and interpreters in childhood cancer care. The results include different obstacles to intercultural care relationships and how they can be handled. A questionnaire on communication over language barriers (CoLB-q) has been developed, translated to the Nordic languages, and used in a Nordic study.

Clinical ethics includes studies on the ethical climate and moral distress, as well as research on ethics case reflection (ECR) rounds in the healthcare team and clinical ethics support for healthcare professionals, patients, and parents in childhood cancer care. Questionnaires on the ethical climate (HECS-S) and moral distress (MDS-R) have, after cultural adaptation and translation to the Nordic languages, been used in Nordic studies in paediatric cancer care. Furthermore, research is carried out to evaluate a training programme in facilitating ECR rounds, as well as specific outcomes of ECR rounds and the effects on patient care.

Classic Grounded Theory was the method I used in my dissertation to study patterns of behaviour and core categories of the studies include: “Facading in transcultural relationships”, and “Protecting professional composure”. I continue using Grounded theory and so does many of my PhD students. I have also taught classic Grounded theory, supervised PhD students, and served as external thesis examiner (University of Cork, 2016). I have attended several Grounded Theory Seminars with Dr Barney Glaser and the Grounded Theory Institute (Stockholm 2005, 20014; London 2006, 2007; New York 2009). I am also one of the founding members of the International Grounded Theory Alliance.

Teaching portfolio

I teach intercultural care, clinical ethics, grounded theory method, and qualitative methodology. In addition, I am the educational leader and examiner of a national education in “Paediatric Oncology Nursing” in cooperation with continuing professional development at KI and the Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund. I am also part of the organizing and training team for a Nordic educational program in facilitating ECR rounds in the care team, on behalf of the NOPHO/NOBOS working group in ethics, in collaboration with Bert Molewijk, Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands.

I have completed 18 credits of pedagogical education in higher education.


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Paediatric Science, KI, 2008
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Nursing – Paediatric Care (60 credits), KI
  • University Diploma in Childhood Cancer Care (45 c), Gothenburg University, 2007
  • Courses in global/international health (60c), Uppsala University, 1995-2000
  • University Certificate in Nursing (120 + 30 c), Stockholm University College of Health Sciences, 1994


Academic honours, awards and prizes

Awarded the Nursing Leadership Award 2022 during the conference of the "International Society of Pediatric Oncology" (SIOP). The Nursing Leadership Award is bestowed upon any present or past member of the Society for his/her substantial contributions to paediatric oncology nursing.