NICU Nurse Resource Guide

This guide was created by the Connections Program for High-Risk Infants and Families to provide resources to NICU nurses to help them support families during their NICU stay. Through focus groups with parents and nurses, we identified helpful resources and specific activities that can be completed in the NICU at various phases of the baby’s care to promote attachment and confidence in their parenting role.

What we heard from parents

parent hands picture

Parents in our focus groups said that they would like to get a welcome and orientation to the NICU including what they can expect to see, what their days might look like (typical cares schedules, doctor’s schedules, etc.), and hear some normalizing language around what they might be experiencing.

Caregivers frequently experience the following feelings in the NICU:

  • Nervous or scared to see their baby look so small, connected to tubes and wires, having procedures done, etc.
  • Grief around the loss of the pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum experience they had envisioned
  • Overwhelmed with managing communication with friends and family
  • Challenges with feeling like a parent to their baby
  • “Waiting for the other shoe to drop” - when you feel as if something “bad” will inevitably happen, even if baby is doing well
  • Worried about their baby’s medical and developmental prognosis
  • Frustrated with a lack of control, lack of concrete answers, etc.
  • “Sensory overload” due to all the sights and sounds in the NICU

Psychiatry (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Anschutz Health Sciences Building

1890 N Revere Ct

Suite 4003

Mail Stop F546

Aurora, CO 80045


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