Infant, Neonatal nursing, Nurse practitioner, Parent



  1. Beal, Judy A. DNSc, RN, PNP
  2. Quinn, Mary MS, RN, CS, NNP


Purpose: The aim of this study was to understand and describe the nature of nurse practitioner care delivery in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) as perceived by parents of critically ill neonates.


Design: This qualitative study used a phenomenologic approach to answer the research question: "What is the lived experience of parents whose babies were cared for by a nurse practitioner in the NICU?


Methods: Consistent with phenomenologic methods, eight parents were asked: "What was it like for you to have a nurse practitioner care for you and your baby?" Parents whose babies had within the last 8 months spent at least 2 weeks in the NICU and had been discharged to home were asked to participate by letter. Consent of interested parents was obtained and interviews were conducted in the parents' homes. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed.


Results: In addition to being able to effectively manage the medical care of the complex neonate, nurse practitioners were consistently perceived as: "being positive and reassuring," "being present," "caring," "translating information," and "making parents feel at ease."


Implications: Nurse practitioners working in the NICU can feel validated by the fact that they are clearly appreciated by parents. Inclusion of NPs in the NICU care team enhances the care provided to infants and their families.