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Implementing Family-Integrated Care in the NICU: Educating Nurses

Galarza-Winton, Mary E. HBS, MN, RN; Dicky, Tenzin MN, RN; O'Leary, Lori MEd; Lee, Shoo K. MBBS, FRCPC, PhD; O'Brien, Karel MB, BCh, BAO, FRCPC, MSc

Section Editor(s): Forsythe, Paula

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e3182a14cde
The Long Road Home

The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate a nursing education program to support family-integrated care in a Canadian neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A total of 44 nurses volunteered to take part in the family-integrated care program, 35 of whom received additional education in the form of a 4-hour workshop. Of the 35 nurses who attended, 21 were interviewed regarding the impact and content of the workshop. The study design included the development, implementation, and qualitative assessment of the nursing education component of a family-integrated care program. The multidisciplinary program team conducted a literature review and then designed and conducted a survey to assess the educational requirements of nurses regarding family-integrated care. A nursing workshop was then developed on the basis of the literature review, staff survey responses, and discussions with staff and parents who had experienced having an infant in the NICU. Six months into the program, the contribution of the nursing workshop content to nurses' participation in the family-integrated care program was evaluated using individual structured interviews. Nurses who were interviewed described the workshop as valuable and reported that the information provided on nursing versus parental responsibilities in infant care, the parent experience in the NICU, and developmental care strategies was the most useful. Interviewees also identified the need for ongoing staff mentoring to maximize their ability to facilitate family-integrated care. Specific education for nurses facilitates family-integrated care in the NICU.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto (Mss Galarza-Winton, Dicky, and O'Leary); Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto (Drs Lee and O'Brien); and Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Public Health, University of Toronto (Dr Lee), Ontario, Canada.

Correspondence: Karel O'Brien, MB, BCh, BAO, FRCPC, MSc, Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto, Rm 775A, 600 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 1X5, Canada (

The authors thank the Family Integrated Care Steering Committee; the veteran parents; and the NICU educators and NICU staff, in particular, Janet Narciso, Marianne Bracht, Serena Pollayparambil, Salena Mohamed, and Yenge Diambomba, for their dedication to this project. They also thank Ruth Warre from the Maternal-Infant Care Research Centre for providing editorial support.

This project was funded by the Preterm Birth and Healthy Outcomes Team and an Alberta Innovates—Health Solutions Interdisciplinary Team Grant (200700595), with organizational support from the Maternal-Infant Care Research Centre, which is supported by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario. The work was undertaken in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2013 by The National Association of Neonatal Nurses