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  1. de Castro de Oliveira, Fernanda MSN
  2. Cleveland, Lisa M. PhD, RN, CPNP, IBCLC
  3. Darilek, Umber RN, BSN
  4. Borges Silva, Ana Regina PhD
  5. Carmona, Elenice Valentim PhD


The purpose of palliative care (PC) is to minimize suffering and improve quality of life. Although PC has been well studied, the experience of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses in Brazil, where little PC training is provided, requires further investigation. The objective of this study was to explore the PC experiences of Brazilian NICU nurses. An exploratory, qualitative, descriptive study was conducted using semistructured, individual interviews with NICU nurses. This study was conducted in a 30-bed NICU in a teaching hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A convenience sample of registered nurses (N = 9) was recruited. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Four themes were identified: (a) living with the grief, (b) identifying with the family, (c) providing humane care, and (d) feeling unprepared. Nurses experienced intense grief while providing PC. They closely identified with the families and aimed to provide humane care that respected the families' values and the infants as human beings. The nurses also felt they lacked adequate training in PC and expressed a need for additional education and emotional support. NICU nurses need adequate education and emotional support to ensure quality nursing care for this vulnerable population of infants and their families.