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  1. D'Agata, Amy L. PhD, MS, RN
  2. McGrath, Jacqueline M. PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN


Advances in neonatal care are allowing for increased infant survival; however, neurodevelopmental complications continue. Using a complex adaptive system framework, a broad analysis of the network of agents most influential to vulnerable infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is presented: parent, nurse, and organization. By exploring these interconnected relationships and the emergent behaviors, a model of care that increases parental caregiving in the NICU is proposed. Supportive parent caregiving early in an infant's NICU stay has the potential for more sensitive caregiving and enhanced opportunities for attachment, perhaps positively impacting neurodevelopment.