This article explores the differences and similarities in opinions of neonatal intensive care issues between parents, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) healthcare professionals (nurses and physicians), and managers (neonatal unit managers and pediatric division managers).
An exploratory survey (n = 624) was conducted in Sweden during 2012-2013 on the basis of a validated questionnaire composed of 92 neonatal care-related Likert items. A total of 141 parents, 443 professionals, and 40 managers completed the survey. The parents were recruited consecutively from 5 NICUs of the Västra Götaland region in Sweden and the professionals and managers from all 40 NICUs in Sweden. Data were analyzed with analysis of variances, and post hoc analyses were conducted through pairwise t tests with Bonferroni corrections.
Professionals and managers differed significantly on 1 item. Parents, however, found 54 items significantly less important than professionals did, but found only 4 to be significantly more important than professionals did.
In line with previous research, we found that a gap exists between views of neonatal intensive care practices, with parents on one side and professionals and managers on the other. The nature of this gap, however, differs substantially from previous research, where parents found many items to be more important than professionals did. To develop and improve neonatal intensive care, this gap must be acknowledged and addressed, both in research and in practice. NICU managers need to develop strategies and routines that allow professionals to understand and adjust to the specific priorities of individual parents and families.