The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be a stressful environment for infants, their families, and the healthcare team. There is an immediate need for neonatal nurses to embrace and translate the new National Perinatal Association recommendations for psychosocial support of NICU parents into clinical practice to demonstrate best practices for infants, their families, and the whole team.
To summarize the current evidence-based practice recommendations and to provide suggestions for team members to develop strategies to adopt and implement them through quality improvement (QI) projects.
Literature reviews were conducted by the original 6 National Perinatal Association workgroup teams and covered all levels of available evidence (eg, qualitative, quantitative, and clinical research, guidelines, and clinical and parental expertise). Evidence was synthesized to formulate this set of recommendations published in December 2015. We describe their applicability to the vital role of neonatal nurses, while elucidating QI projects that track measurements of change to translate these recommendations into practice.
Neonatal nurses are in an ideal position to transform systems of support for NICU parents through the adoption of these recommendations at the bedside, and further to identify areas for QI to enhance implementation.
Neonatal nurses are integral to problem solving and identifying QI strategies for translating these recommendations into NICU clinical practice to improve parent psychosocial support.
This article disseminates evidence and encourages scientific investigation into various methods of supporting emotional health of NICU parents to create better health outcomes.
HS Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Pediatrics Department/Neonatology & Developmental Biology, Los Angeles, California (Dr Purdy); Pediatrics Department/Neonatology & Developmental Biology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California (Dr Melwak); Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes–Jewish College, Advanced Practice Clinical Scientist, St. Louis Children's Hospital, St Louis, Missouri (Dr Smith); School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science/The College of New Jersey, Ewing (Dr Kenner); Department of Nursing/University of Iowa Children's Hospital, Iowa City (Dr Chuffo-Siewert); Nurse Education Program, Elmira College, Elmira, New York (Dr Ryan); Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Dr. Geller); and Division of Neonatology/St John's Regional Medical Center, Oxnard, California (Dr Hall).
Correspondence: Isabell B. Purdy, PhD, RN, NNP, CPNP, HS Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Pediatrics Department/Neonatology & Developmental Biology, 10833 Le Conte Ave, MDCC, Room B2-375, Mail code 175217, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Work for National Perinatal Association Recommendations publications that are referenced in this manuscript were supported by grants and contributions from the Wellness Network, Prolacta Bioscience, Division of Neonatology at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, NICU Parent Support at Mercy Hospital in St Louis, Missouri, Hand to Hold, Preemie Parent Alliance, Zoe Rose Memorial Foundation, the Rosemary Kennedy Trust, and Eden's Garden and National Perinatal Association, “in kind” services.
The authors have no known conflicts of interest to declare.