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J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2008 Oct-Dec;22(4):302-6. doi: 10.1097/01.JPN.0000341361.37822.34.

Engaging fathers in the NICU: taking down the barriers to the baby.

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.


The technological intensive care environment of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) presents a challenge for nurses to integrate care that supports the development of premature infants while facilitating and supporting parents as collaborators in the care of their infant. Engaging mothers in talking to and providing care for their infants is, for the most part, the focus of family nursing interventions in this intense environment. Engaging fathers at the bedside in the NICU is a much more difficult task. The purpose of this article is to identify potential barriers in the NICU perceived by fathers and intervene so that fathers are more likely to engage in being present for their infant and significant other. This is a part of the ongoing nursing assessment that identifies family care needs and weaves interventions into the developmental plan of care.

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