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  1. Beck, Cheryl Tatano DNSc, CNM, FAAN
  2. Casavant, Sharon PhD, RN


Background: When posttraumatic growth occurs in clinicians as a result of their caring for patients and families who are traumatized, it is termed vicarious posttraumatic growth.


Purpose: (1) To determine the level of vicarious posttraumatic growth and the disruption of core beliefs in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses who have cared for critically ill infants and their families. (2) To explore those quantitative findings through nurses' qualitative descriptions of their growth.


Methods: A mixed method with a convergent parallel design was used to address the study aims. A targeted sample of neonatal nurses was recruited from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) through the MyNANN Community message board. The sample consisted of 109 NICU nurses who completed the quantitative strand and 61 (55%) who completed the qualitative strand. Nurses completed the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, the Core Beliefs Inventory, and described their experiences of any positive changes in their beliefs or life as a result of caring for critically ill infants. IBM SPSS 25.0 and Krippendorff's content analysis were used to analyze the quantitative and qualitative data, respectively.


Results: NICU nurses reported a moderate degree of vicarious posttraumatic growth and disruption of their assumptive world. Appreciation of Life was the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory dimension that reflected the highest growth and Spiritual Change the lowest.


Implications for Practice: Providing posttraumatic growth interventions has the potential to help NICU nurses find meaning through their experience.


Implications for Research: Future surveys need to include a higher response rate to generalize the findings. A video abstract is available.


Video Abstract available at: