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Table 2 Nurses’ approaches to engaging fathers, code categories and examples

From: NICU and postpartum nurse perspectives on involving fathers in newborn care: a qualitative study

Code Examples
Answer/elicit fathers’ questions (n = 4) “The ones that are interested stand around watching what you do, and I’ll answer questions”
“They are receiving so much information and are so stressed because the baby is in serious condition, but we encourage them to ask questions.”
Explain things to, inform him (n = 10) “They kind of come hover and ask, ‘Why are you doing that?’ and ‘What’s that for?’ I’ll let them stand and watch and explain why they do that.”
“At discharge, we bring out … extra information on postpartum depression, we go over it with them, like instructions on feeding, car seats, stuff for taking the baby home.”
Directly acknowledge him (n = 8) “If you want to and are motivated to, you can make eye contact, but it requires making effort.”
“If you get dads on the first day, acknowledge them and communicate expectations for them both, they will get involved.”
Demonstrate, show him how to do things (n = 5) “If they are awake I try to talk to him to see what he knows about diapers, feeding. I’ll say, ‘Let’s try while I’m here so I can give you some pointers’.”
“Telling them, ‘Come change this diaper’ can be off-putting. ‘Come help me change this diaper, I’ll show you what to do’ is more useful.”
Suggest ways he can help (n = 10) “I feel out the situation to see what his involvement is, and I’ll say, ‘Hey, Dad, do you want to help out with the bath?”
“That’s when we address dads directly instead of mom, like say ‘Mom’s been changing the diaper, do you want to come do it?”
Offer encouragement, positive feedback (n = 3) “I’ll have dad help wash the baby… and I give him positive feedback for the first bath. Try to get them as involved as possible.”
“You have to take their hand, and in a gentle, encouraging way get them to do things.”
Ask about his thoughts, feelings (n = 3) “I try to get them to open up and discuss their feelings and stress, explain what’s happening.”
“When you’re having a conversation with both parents say ‘Dad, what do you think?’ asking him directly instead of just letting mom answer.”
Tell him he needs to learn, do things (n = 4) “I will try to get them to change diapers and I’ll say, ‘This is your baby, this baby is not coming home with me.’”
“If it’s something really important, especially outpatient, I might say, ‘Hey dad, you really need to pay attention to this.’”
  1. Note: n = number of times the code was applied across all nurse interviews, multiple mentions by a single nurse were coded as separate instances