Negotiating Care in the Special Care Nursery: Parents' and Nurses' Perceptions of Nurse-Parent Communication

Liz Jones, Tara Taylor, Bernadette Maria Watson, Jennifer Fenwick, Tatjana Dordic

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Nursing staff are an important source of support for parents of a hospitalized preterm infant. This study aimed to describe parents' and nurses' perceptions of communicating with each other in the context of the special care nursery. Method: A qualitative descriptive design was employed. Thirty two parents with a newborn admitted to one of two special care nurseries in Queensland, Australia participated, and 12 nurses participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the interviews. Results: Nurses and parents focused on similar topics, but their perceptions differed. Provision of information and enabling parenting were central to effective communication, supported by an appropriate interpersonal style by nurses. Parents described difficulties accessing or engaging nurses. Managing enforcement of policies was a specific area of difficulty for both parents and nurses. Conclusion: The findings indicated a tension between providing family-centered care that is individualized and based on family needs and roles, and adhering to systemic nursery policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e71-e80
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Neonatal nursing
  • Preterm birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


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