The influence of neonatal nursery design on mothers' interactions in the nursery

Liz Jones, Kathryn Peters, Jennifer Rowe, Nicola Sheeran

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5 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the influence of neonatal nursery design on interactions between nurses and mothers of infants in the nursery. Design and methods We used a natural quasi-experimental design, using semi-structured interviews and a structured measure of mothers' and nurses' perceptions of nursing care, to compare mothers (n = 26 and n = 40) and nurses (n = 22 and n = 29) in an open-bay (OB) nursery and a single family room (SFR) nursery. Thematic analysis was used to generate key themes from the interviews. Results Mothers and nurses in both nursery designs talked about Valuing interactions; the importance of interactions between mothers and nurses. Mothers and nurses described SFRs as providing a space, My/their room, which enhanced mothers' sense of control and connection with the infant. SFRs were also associated with Changing the norms of interactions with nurses and other mothers, which created challenges in the desired quantity and quality of interactions for mothers and nurses. Nurses in the SFR nursery also reported Enhanced interactions, including improved confidentiality and personalized communication. Mothers in the OB nursery reported more supportive mothering actions from nurses than mothers in the SFR nursery. Both mothers and nurses in the OB nursery also talked about Our nursery community, which captured the value of having other nurses and mothers in the rooms. Conclusion Mothers and nurses perceived that the SFR nursery enhanced privacy and maternal closeness for mothers compared to the OB nursery. However, the SFR nursery design presented challenges to some interactions of value to nurses and mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e301-e312
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Mother interactions
  • Nursery design
  • Preterm birth

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