An exploration of factors influencing nursing practice with families experiencing perinatal loss

By Marie-Andrée Beaudoin, Nicole Ouellet

Introduction: Perinatal loss is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon presenting a professional challenge for nurses. There are as many different ways of experiencing loss as there are parents, and nurses must adapt their care practices in order to adequately support grieving parents.
Purpose: This qualitative study explored the factors that influence nursing practice with bereaved families in a secondary obstetric care center in Quebec.
Methods: A fourth generation evaluation approach was used (Guba and Lincoln 1989). Ten nurses participated in this qualitative study. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews. Validation interviews were conducted with three nurses and two gynecologists. The data was analyzed from the perspective of Jean Watson’s theory of caring.
Results: A thematic analysis identified five themes: the quality of the relationship between the nurse and the family, the nurse’s personal characteristics, the emotions felt by the nurse, work organization on the hospital unit, and the context in which nursing care is provided to families.
Conclusion: In light of the results, some aspects of nursing practice could be modified in order to ensure that adequate support is provided to bereaved families.


  • caring
  • perinatal loss
  • bereavement
  • family
  • nurse
  • healer-healed relationship
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