Importance and Availability of Nursing Support for Mothers in NICU: A Comparison of Opinions of Iranian Mothers and Nurses

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Objective: The current study was conducted to compare the opinions of mothers and nurses on the importance and availability of nursing support for parents with premature infants hospitalized in NICU. There is no overall picture of the nursing support for parents with hospitalized premature infants in Iran. Nurses, providing care in NICU, must view parent as an essential partner in care. But what is the situation? Assessing the viewpoints of both parents and nurses regarding the importance and availability of nursing support can elucidate this situation. Methods: A comparative descriptive design was used. The population consisted of all mothers with hospitalized premature newborns in NICU (n=300) and all NICU nurses (n=32) in three teaching hospitals in Tabriz (Iran), in 2007. Data was collected through the NPST questionnaire. Data analysis was done with SPSS. Findings: Mann-Whitney test showed that there were significant differences between nurses and mothers on four subscales of nursing support. Generally, mothers scored every subscale lower than nurses who cared for them and their children. On the other hand, it could be said that NICU nurses claimed more importance for the subscales and rated the provided support higher in comparison with mothers who did not think so. Conclusion: The opinions of the nurses and mothers toward the availability and importance of the nursing supports in NICU were different. This study provides nurses with concrete information in order to better understand parents’ need for support and try to meet their expectations, resulting in improved nursing care in neonatal intensive care units.