Memorable conversations in neonatal intensive care: A qualitative analysis of interprofessional provider perspectives

Dara Brodsky, Giulia Lamiani, Olyn Andrade, Victor M Johnson, Donna Luff, Elaine C Meyer


Objective: In this study, we explored the providers’ perspective of difficult conversations in neonatal critical care.

Methods: Between 2008 and 2011, interprofessional neonatal providers voluntarily attended the Program to Enhance Relational and Communication Skills-NICU workshops at Boston Children’s Hospital. We analyzed seventy-four participant narratives that described a difficult conversation in the NICU that was particularly challenging or satisfying.

Results: Participants described memorable conversations that were exclusively challenging (n = 51), both challenging and satisfying (n = 22), and exclusively satisfying (n = 1). We identified five broad domains (Infant’s Clinical Situation, Family Characteristics, Provider Characteristics, the Provider-Family Relationship, and Satisfying Elements) and several themes that further characterized the providers’ perspectives.

Conclusion: Understanding the practitioners’ experience with difficult conversations may help staff to anticipate some challenges inherent in neonatal discussions and to design communication and relational learning educational efforts.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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