NICU nurses are the primary supporters of NICU families and their infants, making it vital that nurses understand the impact of a NICU visit on families and how to improve the parental experience. The complex challenges begin at the NICU admission, where families are left bewildered and unprepared for the uncertainty that lies ahead. During the NICU stay, nurses support families by providing encouragement and empowerment as they navigate their new role as NICU parents. In addition, NICU nurses are advocates for supportive initiatives to help NICU families cope with challenges such as being away from their infant and better understanding their infant’s condition. Technology initiatives such as bedside-cameras or virtual family rounds provides families with the opportunity to engage with their infant and the NICU medical team no matter the distance. This dissertation presents three manuscripts on diverse, yet invaluable, aspects of supportive nursing care in the NICU.

In chapter 2, “The emotional impact of admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit,” provides an overview of the emotional impact NICU parents experience when their infant is admitted to the NICU. Chapter 3, “Lessons learned during the pandemic: First-hand experiences of a NICU nurse providing supportive care through technology,” gives first-hand insight into communicative technology initiatives during Covid. Lastly, chapter 4, presents an explanatory sequential mixed-methods study with a convenience sample of 169 participants. The quantitative strand was conducted and analyzed, prior to the qualitative arm. The qualitative interview questions were designed to further understand the quantitative results.

Date of publication

Spring 5-2024

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Barbara McAlister; Dr. Belinda Deal; Dr. Amy Hayes


PhD in Nursing

Available for download on Wednesday, May 20, 2026

Included in

Nursing Commons