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Advances in Neonatal Care:
doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e3182677bc1
Ethical Issues in Newborn Care

NICU Nurses' Lived Experience: Caring for Infants With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Maguire, Denise PhD, RN, CNL; Webb, Mary PhD, RN; Passmore, Denise PhD; Cline, Genieveve DNP, NNP-BC

Section Editor(s): CATLIN, ANITA

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Abstract

PURPOSE: The primary aim of this qualitative methods study was to describe the lived experiences of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses with ethical and morally challenging issues.

SUBJECTS: The target population for the study was registered nurses working in the NICU. Interviews were completed with 16 nurses from 1 hospital.

DESIGN: A phenomenological method design was used to describe NICU nurses' lived experiences with ethical and moral issues encountered in the NICU.

METHODS: After obtaining signed consent, the principal investigator interviewed all participants, using a semistructured interview guide consisting of open-ended questions.

MAIN OUTCOMES: Ethical and moral distress related to neonatal abstinence syndrome was the predominant outcome.

PRINCIPAL RESULTS: Caring for infants, coping with families, and discharging infants home were the major concerns voiced by nurses in this study.

CONCLUSIONS: Nurses in this study struggled with issues of beneficence and nonmaleficence and were not aware of scientific evidence that guides methadone management of pregnant women.

© 2012 National Association of Neonatal Nurses

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