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J Adv Nurs. 1993 Jan;18(1):54-63.

Advice concerning breastfeeding from mothers of infants admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit: the Roy adaptation model as a conceptual structure.

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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 95F, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


Data were collected by telephone interviews with 178 mothers of full-term patients in a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) concerning advice on facilitation of the initiation of breastfeeding. The main advice to the first author as a nurse in the NICU concerned the environment, advice on breastfeeding, distance between units, work organization and nurse behaviour. The advice to other mothers of patients centred on persistence, physical contact with the infant, and not to let nurses take over maternal role functions. The data were structured into themes and categories, classified by one author and two research assistants according to Roy's adaptation theory, and analysed for degree of interrater agreement. The overall agreement of classification was high, reaching 92.5%. It was easily applied by nurses after a brief introduction and proved useful for structuring interview data. It also contributed to clarification of nurse behaviour and division of roles between nurses and mothers. As the four adaptation modes showed considerable overlap, this kind of classification seems inadvisable for application to the assessment of patient/parent situations in the nursing process. For use in a clinical setting, the theory needs the addition of the interactive aspect of nurse and patient/family role functions, and may then be used as a framework for the development of assessment tools.

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