The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the experiences of mothers of preterm infants during the first 6 months at home following discharge from a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A purposeful sample of 8 mothers was gathered and interviews were conducted over a 4-month period. Each interview was audio recorded and took place in the study participant's home or another place of her choosing. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed independently with themes being identified and organized for each participant. From these analyses, the themes of fear, exhaustion, determination, and thankfulness were identified as being common to all study participants and became the basis for developing the essence of the phenomenon. The essence of this experience for these mothers was their resolve to do whatever was necessary to ensure the best possible outcomes for their infants. The data gathered from these personal interviews will serve to further inform our understanding of this important time from the perspective of those who experienced it, as well as aid in the design of interventions to address the specific needs of these mothers prior to NICU discharge.
Chamberlain College of Nursing, Arlington, VA (Dr Phillips-Pula); Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio (Dr Pickler); School of Nursing, University of Connecticut, Storrs, and Nursing Research, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford (Dr McGrath); and Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Drs Brown and Dusing).
Corresponding Author: Lois Phillips-Pula, PhD, RN, Chamberlain College of Nursing, 2450 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Disclosure: The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.
Submitted for publication: May 29, 2013; accepted for publication: August 18, 2013.