Date of Graduation

Fall 2010


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope


premature infant, NICU, neonatal intensive care, developmental care, NIDCAP

Subject Categories



Developmental care (DC) in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has been progressing for many years to minimize negative outcomes in infants born prematurely. Eight research questions that explored DC education for nurses and parents, strengths and weaknesses of DC, realized outcomes and the process for DC implementation were addressed. A quantitative exploratory descriptive design was used. A purposive sample of seven education coordinators who work in level III NICUs was used. Questionnaires were administered through phone and email interviews. Responses were analyzed for content and grouped into essential themes, and findings were addressed. The results of the data collection are compared with the literature and suggestions were made for future research. The responses from the education coordinators were diverse. The responses indicated a need for more family-centered care and more structured RN education in DC. Many educators struggle to improve family-centered care, as well as desire greater nurse support for DC practices. Each of the respondents identified strengths which such topics as a family friendly atmosphere and a environmental focus. Areas needing improvement included improved physician support and increased funding, among others.


© Natalie A. Bieker

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