In this study fifteen mothers who had babies born in to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were evaluated using Spradley’s domain analysis approach.  The purpose of the study was qualitative to show how parents develop an ownership as a mother to the baby in the NICU.  The study was also quantitative because mothers in the NICU dealt with all emotions that they felt throughout different stages in their stay from stress to grief and feeling like they could not take care of their baby (Heerman, Wilson, & Wilhelm, 2005).   The researchers clearly stated their purpose in confirming their suspicion and that is that parents in the NICU do not feel like the baby is theirs until they go home with the baby. This method of study is done interview style and using different stages, meaning parents staying there from at least one week with a 24-34 week gestation baby. The study used middle class mothers that were Caucasian.


The method of study is a valid one to obtain research, however I may have opted to use mothers of different ages, different races and more than one hospital. The factors that I feel interfered with the integrity of the research study is that the people were all of one socioeconomic class and race.  This does not give a valid study to the rest of the population, because premature birth does not make exceptions to race, economic status, geographic location, famous or not famous, it can affect anyone. A resource that would help would be other studies that used qualitative research as well with a broader subpopulation.


Although the study only used one socioeconomic class and one race, the study does express the issues that have been mentioned in other studies that talk about what parents feel when they are in the NICU like the study conducted by Dudek-Shriber that showed the stress of parents while in the NICU. The study that Dudek-Shriber utilized was a larger group of mothers and also a diverse population.  In comparison to the current study, Dudek-Shriber’s study was more accurate because there was variety in stages of birth, race, mother’s age and the length of stay in the NICU (Raines, 2013).

There are clear links in the subpopulation collected by the researcher to obtain the conclusion obtained, which is that mothers feel like a visitor instead of a mother when they have their baby in the NICU.  They do not feel that the baby is theirs until they go home.  Now some mothers do feel that they are a part of the baby’s life while they are in the NICU from day one and get involved to the point that they start to act like the staff according to the results.  These moms will use the same language to describe their baby but it is not really identifying them as a mother, they are still referring to the baby the same as the nurses.  The bonding has not occurred when the mothers are going through the motions that the nurse are going through.


This study cannot be generalized as the researcher only used one race and only fifteen mothers.  It was very specific to the one NICU.  This study population is of course similar  to the population I will be working with, because as noted earlier, prematurity does not make exceptions to race, economic status or age. The researchers concluded that nurses in the NICU need to ask the mothers if they want to be involved at the different stages of the baby’s care so that they can feel connected as a family.  Nurses are sometimes very quick about their agenda and will forget to ask the mothers about being involved because they have an agenda to take care of.



Heerman, J. A., Wilson, M. E., & Wilhelm, P. A. (2005, May/June). Mothers in the NICU: Outsider to Partner. Pediatric Nursing, 31(3), 176-200.


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