Title : International NICU Nurses’ Perceptions in promoting preterm Infant Massage
Background: When preterm infants are admitted in the NICU, mothers report experiencing uncertainty; powerlessness; loss of control; role alterations; fears to hold, feed, or touch the newborn; feelings of intrusion; and alienation in the NICU. Thus, preterm birth presents a risk for the early mother-infant relationship. Globally, NICU nurses play a crucial role in facilitating bonding between parents and preterm infants through the provision of touch and massage to provide positive experiences for the mother and infant.
Objective: As there is a lack of information about how globally NICU nurses’ support promoting preterm infant massage (IM), this study was designed to explore international NICU nurses’ positive and negative perceptions regarding preterm IM.
Methods: An exploratory descriptive research design with an online web-based survey was used. Data were collected using the Attitudes of Infant Massage Scale (AIMS), a self-report questionnaire consisting of demographic data, benefits of, concerns with, and nurses’ support for promoting IM in the NICU.
Data analyses: Descriptive analysis of demographic variables and instrument subscales; correlations between demographic variables (age, experience in nursing and NICU nursing) and benefits, concerns, and nurses’ support; and tests of differences across demographic variables (ethnicity and education) on benefits, concerns, and nurses’ support with and without controlling for age.
Results: Neonatal nurses have strong positive attitudes regarding benefits of and nurses’ support, and very minor negative attitudes regarding concerns and issues with promoting IM in the NICU.
Conclusion/Implications for nursing practice: This information is instrumental for designing an intervention whereby nurses would be willing to facilitate mother-preterm infant attachment processes using IM.