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Pediatr Nurs. 2005 May-Jun;31(3):176-81, 200.

Mothers in the NICU: outsider to partner.

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The College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA.


The emerging care delivery model for Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) is family-focused, developmentally supportive care. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe mothers' experience of becoming a mother while their infants were receiving care in the NICU. A qualitative research design was used. Interviews with 15 mothers whose infants were in a Level III NICU were analyzed using Spradley's domain analysis approach. Mothers developed from outsider to engaged parent along four continua: (1) focus: from NICU to baby; (2) ownership: from their baby to my baby; (3) caregiving: from passive to active; and (4) voice: from silence to advocacy. Mothers entered the continua at different points and moved at different rates toward "engaged parenting." The final stage, partnering, required active participation of nurses. Mothers' development evolved in predictable patterns. The results of this study can be considered in implementation and evaluation plans for NICUs moving to family-focused developmental care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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