To evaluate how neonatologists and NICU parents perceive communication in the NICU.
A mixed-methods approach using an online survey and three focus groups with NICU parents and neonatologists, utilizing videos of simulated conversations between a neonatologist and mother.
A total of 72 participants responded to the online survey. Parents ranked the invasiveness of common NICU clinical procedures differently than the neonatologist standard but assessed the quality of the simulated conversation similarly. A total of 13 parents and 6 physicians participated in the focus groups. Major themes from both neonatologist and parent focus groups were the impact of making a connection with the parents, the importance of making decisions yet not making assumptions based on the divergent use of language by neonatologists and parents, and providing hope.
Parents and neonatologists differ in their perception of key aspects of NICU language use and communication but also agree on many aspects.
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Supported by Brown Summer Assistantship Funding.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The study was conducted with the approval of the Women and Infants hospital Internal Review Board and was given exempt status. Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the study. The study was performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.
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Winters, R., Hennigan, C.M., Tucker, R. et al. Words matter: exploring communication between parents and neonatologists. J Perinatol (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-021-01293-2