1. Valizadeh, Sousan MSc, PhD
  2. Mirlashari, Jila MSc, PhD
  3. Navab, Elham MSc, PhD
  4. Higman, Wendy PhD, MSc, MA, BA, RGN
  5. Ghorbani, Fatemeh MSc, PhD, Candidate in Nursing, RN


Background: The basic principles of family-centered care in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) include the unlimited presence of parents and their participation in infant's care. Nurses play a central role in encouraging parental attachment with their infant.


Purpose: This study was carried out with the aim of understanding NICU nurses' lived experiences of family participation in family-centered care.


Methods: This interpretative phenomenological study was conducted on the basis of Heideggerian philosophy. The data were collected using semistructured interviews and field notes and analyzed through the 7-stage Diekelmann, Allen, and Tanner approach.


Findings: Two overarching themes emerged including "mother's centrality in the care chain" and "fathers; the lost ring in the care chain" each of which consisted of 3 and 4 subthemes, respectively. Interviews indicated that in Iran's NICUs, conditions for the presence of parents were appropriate for the mothers and they were encouraged to engage in family-centered care but the fathers' participation was limited due to traditional attitudes, cultural-religious background, and difficulties relating to the hospitals' organizational rules.


Implications for Practice: Fathers' participation in family-centered care seems to be enhanced through providing facilities, altering the organizational rules, attempting to modify traditional social attitudes, and educating parents and nurses.


Implications for Research: Future research should explore the experience of mothers and fathers of infants in NICU in Iran to achieve a comprehensive understanding of their role in family-centered care.