Sharon Nurse, MSc., BSc (Hons)., RM., RN., RCNT

MSc. in Midwifery and Women’s Health

BSc. (Hons) Health Studies (1st class Honours)

Registered Midwife

Registered Nurse

Registered Clinical Nurse Teacher

ENB 904 Neonatal Intensive Care course

Currently employed as a Senior Lecturer (Education) in the School of Nursing & Midwifery, The Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Address: Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast,  BT9 7BL


Telephone: 02890 975836

Mobile: 07759722188

Key content area: Clinical Research (completed)


One chance’ – junior neonatal nurses’ anxieties around caring for infants at the end-of-life



An infant’s death is acutely stressful for parents and professionals. Little is known about junior nurses’ experiences providing end-of-life care in Neonatal Units (NNU). Objectives

To better understand junior nurses’ experiences providing end-of-life care in NNU, the study explored the challenges and opportunities inherent in their practice relating to providing such care to babies and their families.


Neonatal nurses (n=12) with less than 3 years experience who were undergoing a neonatal education programme participated. Two focus groups were convened each with 6 nurses. The Ethics Committee at the relevant University approved the study. Nominal Group Technique (NGT) was used in the focus groups to build consensus around the challenges faced by junior nurses, alongside suggested developments in improving future care provision. Primary analysis involved successive rounds of ranking and decision making whilst secondary analysis involved thematic analysis.


The study identified the pressures these nurses felt in having only one chance to ‘get it right’ for the infants and their families. They perceived the need for further ‘education and training’ highlighting that improved education provision would include both additional courses and internal training sessions. Greater ‘support’ from mentors themselves more experienced in this aspect of care within the NNU was identified as important in addressing issues around confidence building and skill development.


The results highlight junior nurses’ need for specific education and mentorship around end-of-life care for babies. This presentation will outline the implications for practice, education and further research.