Background. A neonatal community nursing service may help families to cope with the early transfer of small, vulnerable infants to home. The previous literature has relied on self-reports to explore this kind of work.
Aim. This paper reports a study exploring the work of a community neonatal nursing team in order to describe the strategies and interventions used to support families of preterm infants.
Method. A qualitative case study design was adopted. Data were collected using fieldwork observations, semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis with a team of four community neonatal nurses. A nursing model of transition was explored as a possible framework for practice.
Findings. Thematic data analysis yielded two broad themes: Working with Mothers and Working with Others. Subcategories of Working with Mothers consisted of Baby Well; Mum Happy; Keeping in Touch and One of the Family. Working with Others focussed on multidisciplinary liaison activities.
Discussion. The complexity of nursing work was interdependent with maternal caregiving and dependent upon effective liaison with other health care professionals. The nursing model of transition requires further development to offer a sufficiently coherent practice model to direct neonatal nursing care delivery.