1. Noergaard, Betty PhD, RN
  2. Kofoed, Poul-Erik MD, PhD


Background: The need for paternal support is rarely addressed in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Neonatal nurses often primarily focus on the needs of the mother and infant and may not be trained in support of fathers.


Purpose: To investigate nurses' self-efficacy (SE) in guiding and supporting fathers after implementing a father-friendly NICU.


Methods: Nurses from the intervention NICU and 13 control NICUs were included in a before-and-after intervention study. Questionnaires measuring nurses' SE regarding support of fathers and mothers were obtained when starting the development process, before and 18 months after the implementation. The primary outcome was the difference between nurses' SE scores for father and mother questions in the intervention group compared with the control group.


Results: In total, 294, 330, and 288 nurses responded to the first, second, and third questionnaires, respectively. From the first to third questionnaires, the intervention group showed a significantly higher increase in SE scores for father questions compared with the control group (0.53 vs 0.20, P = .005) and a nonsignificantly higher increase for mother questions (0.30 vs 0.09, P = .13). In the third questionnaire, the intervention group showed a higher SE score for father questions compared with the control group (9.02 vs 8.45, P = .002) and the first questionnaire (9.02 vs 8.49, P = .02).


Implications for Practice and Research: By implementing a father-friendly NICU, nurses' SE for providing support to fathers increased significantly. Training in a father-friendly approach increases nurses' ability to support both parents.