Vigilant Watching Over: Mothers' Actions to Safeguard Their Premature Babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Nursery

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The critical ethnography described in this article explored how a diverse group of 12 mothers describe and interpret their experience of having a hospitalized premature baby, including the mothers' actions in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) and conditions affecting their descriptions, interpretations, and actions throughout 448 hours of participant observation. A central feature of their experience encompassed a repertoire of actions to vigilantly watch over their babies in the NICU. The results of this study suggest that health care providers often interpreted mothers' actions differently than intended, which creates barriers to achieving family-centered care in the NICU.

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