"But then it's the thing about being sure...": A qualitative study of special nurses' thoughts and reflections surrounding the birth of extremely premature infants.
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The Western biotechnology has developed rapidly and we are now able to save infants born down to the 23 rd week of gestation. The birth of an extremely premature infant can not only have massive consequences for the infant itself but also for its surroundings. It can put a psychological and economical burden on the family, and the health personnel involved in the medical decision making for this infant can also experience emotional reactions. This qualitative study sought to explore special nurses’ thoughts and reflections surrounding the birth of extremely premature infants. It examined what kind of considerations the special nurses thought should be taken into account when making a medical decision about how or if to treat the infant and it also put a focus on the emotional aspects of decision making from the special nurses’ perspective. The data was gathered and analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2008). The findings showed that the nurses had concerns for the infant, the family and the society when making decisions. Infant and family were considerations they felt should be taken into account in the acute phase, while their concern about society often revolved around possible social consequences for the infant and the lack of support for the parents. The findings also suggest that the special nurses struggle with difficult emotions such as insecurity and guilt when having to cope with the situations they meet in their line of work. This implies that more research should be done on how the health personnel are affected by being in these emotionally challenging situations. It is important to view this topic from a holistic perspective in order to take as many factors as possible into account.