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Nurs Ethics. 2012 Jan;19(1):80-90. doi: 10.1177/0969733011412101. Epub 2011 Dec 2.

The challenge of integrating justice and care in neonatal nursing.

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Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, HoeghGuldbergs Gade 6A, Aarhus C, Denmark.


The aim of this study was to explore neonatal nurses' and mothers of preterm infants' experiences of daily challenges. Interviews took place asking for good, bad and challenging experiences. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis and findings were clustered in two categories: good and challenging experiences, each containing three themes. The good experiences were: managing with success as a nurse, small things matter for mothers, and a good day anyhow for mothers and nurses. The challenging experiences were: mothering in public, being pulled between responsibilities, and adverse things stick under the nurses' skin. The study shows that small daily clinical matters become big issues and could lead to moral distress, and that nurses integrate ethics of justice and ethics of care while mothers are concerned about health and well-being of their specific infant only. The challenge for nursing to integrate fairness and sensitive care in family-oriented neonatal care is discussed.

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