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The New Parent Checklist: A Tool to Promote Parental Reflection

Keys, Elizabeth M. BSc, BN, RN, CCHN(C); McNeil, Deborah A. PhD, MN, BScN; Wallace, Donna A. BN, RN, MCEd; Bostick, Jason MSc; Churchill, A. Jocelyn MN, RN, LCCE, FACCE; Dodd, Maureen M. BA, CTP

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: September/October 2017 - Volume 42 - Issue 5 - p 276–282
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000356

Purpose: To design and establish content and face validity of an evidence-informed tool that promotes parental self-reflection during the transition to parenthood.

Study Design and Methods: The New Parent Checklist was developed using a three-phase sequential approach: Phase 1 a scoping review and expert consultation to develop and refine a prototype tool; Phase 2 content analysis of parent focus groups; and Phase 3 assessment of utility in a cross-sectional sample of parents completing the New Parent Checklist and a questionnaire.

Results: The initial version of the checklist was considered by experts to contain key information. Focus group participants found it useful, appropriate, and nonjudgmental, and offered suggestions to enhance readability, utility, as well as face and content validity. In the cross-sectional survey, 83% of the participants rated the New Parent Checklist as “helpful” or “very helpful” and 90% found the New Parent Checklist “very easy” to use. Open-ended survey responses included predominantly positive feedback. Notable differences existed for some items based on respondents' first language, age, and sex. Results and feedback from all three phases informed the current version, available for download online.

Clinical Implications: The New Parent Checklist is a comprehensive evidence-informed self-reflective tool with promising content and face validity. Depending on parental characteristics and infant age, certain items of the New Parent Checklist have particular utility but may also require further adaptation and testing. Local resources for information and/or support are included in the tool and could be easily adapted by other regions to incorporate their own local resources.

A new parent checklist was developed and tested in a three-phase process. Information provided in the checklist on parenting, relationships, and personal and family needs can be a valuable resource in reducing parental knowledge gaps, particularly those related to psychosocial support.

Elizabeth M. Keys is a Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada. The author can be reached via e-mail at

Deborah A. McNeil is the Scientific Director, Population Public and Indigenous Health, Alberta Health Services, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing and Cummings School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Donna A. Wallace is the Chair, Child and Youth Services Council for Quality Assurance, Human Services, Government of Alberta, and the Director (retired), Public Health – Calgary Zone, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Jason Bostick is a Health Promotion Facilitator, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada.

A. Jocelyn Churchill is the Care Manager (retired), Antenatal Community Care, Perinatal Education and Diversity Liaisons, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Maureen M. Dodd is an Advisor, Leadership and Employee Development, Alberta Health Services, AB, Canada.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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