Background/aims Irradiance levels of phototherapy (PT) devices in Dutch neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in 2008 were often lower than the minimal recommended level and the distance between the PT device and the infant is frequently too large. We hypothesised that lack of awareness of the factors that influence PT efficacy existed among caregivers. We aimed to analyse knowledge and practice of nurses in Dutch NICUs of the current national guideline for PT.
Methods A survey was administered to all 10 Dutch NICUs; 200 nurses received a questionnaire on the application of the current PT guidelines including factors that influence PT efficacy.
Results The overall response rate of the survey was 91%, 86% used local guidelines; 51% of the respondents did not know whether the intensity of the PT devices was regularly measured and 44% did not measure the distance between PT device and infant. Nurses exhibited personal preferences for a specific PT device, which varied per NICU, and which not necessarily corresponded to devices with the highest irradiance level. Overall, nurses would like to have better PT devices and more uniformity in their use.
Conclusions Personal preferences, use of local PT guidelines, and lack of awareness of factors affecting light irradiance exist among NICU nurses. Educational programs aimed to improve awareness of factors that affect PT efficacy are needed.