1. Lee, Han Na RN
  2. Park, Ji Hyeon RN
  3. Cho, Haeryun PhD, RN


Background: The concept of developmentally supportive care in preterm infants is of considerable significance in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting with regard to preventing complications from preterm birth and promoting optimal growth and development. To provide high-quality developmentally supportive care, NICU nurses must possess high levels of knowledge, importance, perception, and competence.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate South Korean NICU nursing staff's level of knowledge concerning developmentally supportive care, as well as the perceived importance, perception, and perceived competence regarding this concept.


Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional descriptive design. Between June 1 and 19, 2020, 160 nurses completed a self-report questionnaire pertaining to developmentally supportive care, which covered the aspects of knowledge, perceived importance, perception (including attitudes, perceived behavioral control, subjective norms, and intentions), and perceived competence.


Results: The levels of knowledge, attitude, and intention as a subfactor of perception, and perceived competence pertaining to developmentally supportive care were not high. There was no significant difference in the knowledge and perceived competence of skilled nurses compared with novice nurses. However, skilled nurses recognized that they could provide better developmentally supportive care than novice nurses. Perceived competence was positively correlated with perceived importance and perception.


Implications for Practice and Research: Systematic educational programs that can enhance developmentally supportive care competence should be provided to NICU staff nurses. These must clarify the importance of developmentally supportive care and improve NICU nurses' knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, and intentions.