The experiences of parents with infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Haydeh Heidari, Marzieh Hasanpour, Marjan Fooladi


Background: In recent years significant medical science advances have been made in the field midwifery and infant care. The premature, low birth weight and ill infants are admitted to the technologically advanced NICU for care and they often require long‑term stay. This study addresses parental experiences with the infant care in NICU, explores their concerns regarding nursing supports for parents and offers nurses’ perspectives on performing duties.

Materials and Methods: A qualitative inductive content analysis method was applied in 2011 that included a purposely selected group of parents, nurses and physicians from neonatal unit at the Medical Science University of Isfahan. Participants were surveyed and interviewed according to the institutional ethics committee approval and signed informed consents.

Results: The content analysis identified two main categories: 1) the definition of stress, which consisted of misgivings, nervous pressure, imbalance, separation and 2) the parents’ reaction to stress, which revealed emotional, psychotic and behavioral reactions as subcategories.

Discussion: The medical team awareness of NICU parent experiences is essential to the quality of care. Recognizing the type of parents’ reaction to the whole process by the healthcare team seems essential to the optimum outcome.

Key words: Content analysis, NICU, nursing support, parental experiences, stress

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