A Program of Research: Improving Outcomes for Infants Born Preterm
Repository Posting Date2016-07-13T11:13:42Z
Author(s)Pickler, Rita H.
Author DetailsRita H. Pickler RN, PNP-BC
Lead Author Sigma AffliationEpsilon
Other Title(s)Special Session
Session presented on Saturday, July 23, 2016: This presentation will focus on the development and maintenance of a program of research focused on the care of the preterm infants. The program of research has been on-going for over 30 years and has included multiple National Institute of Health funded studies as well as numerous foundation and organizationally funded projects. The program of research began with a focus on how nurses interacted with and managed care for preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. With input from practicing nurses and awareness of the lack of evidence to support care practices, the research program focused over several studies on aspects of preterm infant feeding care. With knowledge gained from a series of studies associated with oral feeding readiness and best oral feeding practices, it became apparent that improvements in feeding outcomes seen in study participants were most likely due to improved neurobehavioral functioning, which was attributed to study interventions provided by nurses. Current studies in this program of research are focused on ways in which caregiving in the neonatal intensive care unit, a highly stressful and disorganizing environment, can be provided in a patterned manner that supports optimal neurologic development and improved neurobehavioral outcomes. A brief description of each research study's contribution to the science of preterm infant care and to the improvement in outcomes for preterm infants and their families will be provided. Examples of how pilot studies were used to develop evidence for more complex studies will be given. Study methods and results will be briefly discussed with particular emphasis given to how study results were used to further develop scientific understanding. Additionally, special attention will be given to how knowledge gained from study results resulted in greater complexity of study methods as well as broader focus of the research program. Findings from the author's recently completed randomized trial of a patterned feeding experienced will be highlighted.