Use of Technology in the NICU: Impact of Virtual Visitation on Parental Stress and Nursing Workload

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Objective: This project evaluated how implementing a remote streaming webcam system in a tertiary-level neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) impacted parental stress and nursing workload. Methods: 31 parents and 33 nurses completed validated de novo questionnaires about parental and nursing staff perceptions of the remote streaming webcams. Results: Parent participants reported that viewing their infant on a webcam lowered parental stress, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness while increasing hopefulness. Most nursing participants agreed that the webcams increased nursing workload, stress, and parental telephone calls to the unit while the webcams were on. Conclusion: While most parents reported overwhelmingly positive benefits of the remote streaming webcams in the NICU, nurses expressed concerns about increased workload and stress. These findings suggest that webcam technology can improve the overall parental experience in the NICU. However, there still is a need to find successful solutions to increase nurses' acceptance of this technology in the neonatal environment.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Nursing Practice