This study entitled “The experience of nurses taking care of newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and their families” gives an account of the nurse’s experiences on a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), as well as the difficulties they face regarding this matter. This is a qualitative, exploratory and descriptive study, with a phenomenological approach. Data was collected by semi-structured interviews and submitted to content analysis (Bardin). The analyses brought out the following themes: how the nurse perceives the child and the parents he/she is taking care; how the nurse perceives the way that parents take care of their child; what the nurse feels when he/she is taking care of the child and the family; the difficulties the nurse has to face; what the nurse focuses his/her attention when taking care of the child and the family; what the nurse perceives as necessary to improve the care which is being provided.
Nurses expressed some difficulties concerning the teamwork, difficult relationship and communication with the families, and lack of resources, of a specific training and care standards, as well as an updated assessment tool. They feel frustration, anxiety, revolt, weariness, anguish, pain, as well as affection, satisfaction, challenge and recognition. In general, parents are absent and disinterested. However some are more present and provide basic care for their child autonomously.
This study has revealed the complexity and importance of taking care of such children, associated with their characteristics, clinical manifestations, suffering and peculiar characteristics of their families.