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Training in Supportive Care Improves Nurses’ Performance

Last Updated: May 18, 2009.

Nurses who are trained in developmentally supportive care are better able to take care of premature babies than those who do not receive such training, according to a study published in the May issue of Applied Nursing Research.

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Nurses who are trained in developmentally supportive care are better able to take care of premature babies than those who do not receive such training, according to a study published in the May issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Jen-Jiuan Liaw, Ph.D., of the National Defense Medical Center in Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues conducted a study of 13 nurses who were indirectly observed giving 120 baths to 20 preterm infants both before and after training in developmentally supportive care. The observers graded the babies' behavior according to behavioral criteria, including body movements and facial expressions, and graded the nurses in terms of their interaction with and handling of the babies.

Observations of both the babies' and nurses' behavior showed that after training, nurses were more supportive and infants felt less stress and greater comfort during bathing, the researchers found. After their training, the nurses were able to identify the infants' behaviors and then adjust bathing procedures and offer supportive intervention based on those behaviors.

"Preterm infants need gentle and sensitive care to support the healthy development of their body systems, especially the brain," the authors write. "To significantly improve nurses' caregiving skills, they need to initially receive developmentally supportive care training and to repeat the training at regular intervals -- about twice a year. Therefore, clear concepts and skills of developmentally supportive care are important if they are to take root in neonatal care giving practice."

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