Comparison of perceived needs of mothers of neonates and nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Sandra Lobar

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Janice Hayes

Third Advisor's Name

Mary Lu Goldberg

Date of Defense



The transition to motherhood is not easy for any new parent but it is especially difficult for the mother of an infant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). There may be instances in the NICU where the nurses' perception of maternal needs may be incongruent with the mother's perception. Many NICU nurses focus on the physical needs of infants such as cardiorespirartory monitoring, mechanical ventilator support, and I.V. therapy. Mothers may instead be focused on their own need for emotional and psychological support.

This study investigated the differences and similarities regarding maternal needs as perceived by the mothers and NICU nurses. A 30 item questionnaire called the Perceived Needs of Family Members of Critically Ill Patients (Norris and Grove, 1986) was given to a group of mothers and a group of NICU nurses. The instrument consists of "needs" statements which are ranked on a Likert Scale from "very important" to "not important". The rankings by mothers and the rankings by nurses were compared.

The results of this study demonstrated that the mothers' perceptions and the nurses perceptions of maternal needs were similar in most instances, althought there were some differences. Therefore, it is important that the mothers' needs are accurately identified so that nursing interventions can be developed to meet them.



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