Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science

Dissertation Committee

Janet K. Harrison, EdD, RN, Chair; Evelyn R. Anderson, PhD, RN; Diane C. Hatton, DNSc, RN


family-centered Perinatal nursing, families & family life, maternity, nursing, Obstetrics, Phenomenology


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to obtain a better understanding of how nurses caring for perinatal patients and their families view their clinical practice role after experiencing the transition from traditional maternity care to family-centered perinatal nursing. The volunteer participants in the study were 13 female registered nurses employed on a family-centered perinatal unit in one of four hospital settings. The researcher conducted unstructured interviews with the participants and analyzed the qualitative data. The history of the transition and the context in which the family-centered perinatal nursing model was being practiced are presented. Two major features of the Transitional Model emerged through the process of data analysis: essential characteristics of perinatal nursing and meaning of the transition to perinatal nursing. The first major feature, essential characteristics of perinatal nursing, described the perinatal nurses' new, expanded role and the changes in the interrelationships between the perinatal nurses and the patient and her family that resulted from the transition to perinatal nursing. The second major feature, the meaning of the transition to perinatal nursing, focused on the participants' perception of the experienced change and the evaluation of its effect on the implementation of the new model. It also involved influencing factors that intervened either to promote and facilitate the transition to perinatal nursing or to discourage and hinder the transition to perinatal nursing. The participants viewed these factors as pivotal in that they were interrelated with the other major theme. The ideal of family-centered perinatal nursing was not achieved, but a compromise model of the current practice did emerge. The implications for nursing practice, education, and research based on the findings in this study are discussed. Recommendations include further research into the major features of the Transitional Model to determine whether the findings of this study can be generalized to other nurses and thus advance the knowledge of nursing and other disciplines concerning the development of new clinical practice models for nursing and the meaning of transitions.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons