Differences in parents', nurses' and physicians' views of NICU parent support

Authors

  • Linda S Franck,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
    • Correspondence

      Linda S. Franck, RN, PhD, FRCPCH, FAAN, Professor & Chair, Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, 2 Koret Way, N411F, Box 0606, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

      Tel: +415-476-4433 |

      Fax: 415-753-2161 |

      Email: linda.franck@nursing.ucsf.edu

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  • Anna Axelin

    1. Department of Family Health Care Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
    2. Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
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Abstract

Aim

To measure the perceptions of parent support by parents, nurses and physicians.

Methods

Perceptions were compared among parents (n = 227), nurses (n = 178) and physicians (n = 43) in four neonatal intensive care units (NICU) using two versions of the Nurse Parent Support Tool (NPST and NPSTpro).

Results

Overall, parents reported receiving support from nurses some or most of the time and their perceptions were correlated with aspects of their NICU experience. Nurses reported giving support to parents almost all of the time. The mean difference between parent and nurse ratings was smallest for instrumental support (0.26, 0.16–0.36; p < 0.001) and greatest for emotional support (0.82, 0.67–0.97; p < 0.001). Physicians overall reported that they gave support to parents most of the time, significantly less frequently than nurses (mean difference 0.58, 0.45–0.71; p < 0.001). They rated their support as most frequent on answering parents' questions satisfactorily and as least frequent on teaching parents how to give care to their baby.

Conclusion

NICU nurses and physicians should be encouraged to critically reflect on whether the type and consistency of support they provide to parents is in line with parents' perceptions and needs. Further research is needed on effective methods for health professionals to support parents of NICU infants.

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