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Providing psychosocial support to parents whose infants are hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can improve parents’ functioning as well as their relationships with their babies. Yet, few NICUs offer staff education that teaches optimal methods of communication with parents in distress. Limited staff education in how to best provide psychosocial support to families is one factor that may render those who work in the NICU at risk for burnout, compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress syndrome. Staff who develop burnout may have further reduced ability to provide effective support to parents and babies. Recommendations for providing NICU staff with education and support are discussed. The goal is to deliver care that exemplifies the belief that providing psychosocial care and support to the family is equal in importance to providing medical care and developmental support to the baby.


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