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Experience, Mother, Phenomenology, Preterm, Transition.



  1. Griffin, Junyanee Boonmee PhD, RN
  2. Pickler, Rita H. PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN


Purpose: To describe mothers' experiences during the first month after their preterm infant's hospital discharge.


Study Design and Methods: Descriptive phenomenology with a sample of 10 mothers who were mostly single, under 25, and African American. Institutional review board approval and informed consents were obtained. Data were collected two times. First, mother's demographic data were collected before the infant's hospital discharge. Second, an in-depth interview was conducted between 2 and 4 weeks after the infant's discharge. Interviews were digitally audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using the Colaizzi seven-step process.


Results: There were five theme clusters that described mothers' experiences: dealing with an expected pregnancy outcome; experiencing the reality of taking care of a baby alone; struggling to adjust to the maternal role; enhancing maternal inner strength; and changing the maternal lifestyle.


Clinical Implications: This study's findings reveal that mothers value teaching and coaching from nursery care providers. However, a more structured and individualized approach to discharge preparation including assessment of mother's competence in infant care may be needed.