Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Barbara DiCicco-Bloom

Committee Members

Arlene Farren

Barbara Gail Montero

Subject Categories



neonatal, nurses, end of life, grounded theory


Nurses with specialized training care for the approximately 7% of newly born infants who are admitted annually to neonatal intensive care units in the United States. Although they receive care at advanced levels, some infants will not survive. Nurses maintain a constant presence at the bedsides of these neonates to provide end of life care in units and institutions where the gold standard is cure and rescue. The purpose of this grounded theory research study was to understand how nurses managed the challenges and demands of caring for dying infants in the context of Level III neonatal intensive care units. The goal was to generate a practical theory that explained their basic social process or overriding pattern of behavior throughout this time. Data was collected during in-depth interviews with seventeen nurses who cared for infants around the time of their death until saturation of the emerging conceptual categories was achieved. An understanding of the interactions they engaged in and the strategies they employed as they cared for dying infants, parents, and other family members was established. The basic social process, everyone is watching, describes these behaviors, which occurred within unique contextual circumstances.

Included in

Nursing Commons