Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Science Studies

First Advisor

Dr. George G. Mallinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Poel

Third Advisor

Dr. Judy Stewart

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Peter Northouse


The purpose of the study was to determine parental perceptions of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) discharge teaching. Orem's (1985) self-care deficit theory was the conceptual framework. Fifty mothers and 15 fathers were interviewed in their homes following the infant's discharge to determine their perceptions of involvement, recall, need, satisfaction and importance of NICU discharge teaching.

The 50 infants in the sample were hospitalized an average of 41 days with a variety of neonatal diagnoses. The average age of the mothers was 27 years, and the sample of 50 included 82% married women, 42% primiparas, and 52% cesarean deliveries. Forty-two percent had not attended prenatal classes, and 76% had never taken a baby-care class.

Most of the mothers visited their infant daily and had positive relationships with the nurses. Only 30% of the mothers perceived themselves as very involved in planning their discharge teaching. Eighty-four percent of the fathers and 86% of the mothers were very satisfied with the discharge teaching they had received. In some cases the parents perceived no need for the teaching they received. In other cases the parents perceived a need for the teaching, but did not recall being taught. The parents were generally satisfied with the teaching on individual areas, even when they perceived it as unneeded.

Parents considered all areas of the discharge planning instrument as important to their care of the infant. Eighty-two percent of the parents had experienced problems since discharge, and had located a source of post-discharge information. The post-discharge problems, parental suggestions for additional teaching, and sources of information are described. Among the recommendations are increased parental involvement in the planning phase, improved assessment of parent teaching needs, and consideration of additional anticipatory teaching for post-discharge problems.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access