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Title: Disrupted biographies : the lived experiences of first time fathers with a preterm infant in a neonatal intensive care unit
Author: Crathern, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 1256
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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Historically, there has been a gendered imbalance within neonatal research, with a focus on mothers' experiences of having a preterm infant. However, this focus is slowly shifting and there is now an emerging body of international evidence that has focused on fathers' experiences in neonatal intensive care (NIC). Nevertheless, in the UK, there is still a paucity of father focused research that lends insight into fathers' experiences in NIC. This gap in knowledge has meant that assumptions have been made about the needs of fathers in NIC and informed the research question: what does it mean to be the father of a preterm infant in a neonatal intensive care unit. The study reported in this thesis adopted a methodology informed by Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenology. Tape recorded interviews were conducted with eight first time fathers shortly after admission of their infant to NIC. Six of the eight fathers were interviewed a second time shortly before discharge of their infant from the neonatal unit. A Heideggerian framework underpinned the method for data collection and analysis. All interviews were treated as meaningful text and analysis resulted in the identification of four themes that captured the fathers' lived experiences in NIC: (I) anticipatory fatherhood: the challenges of a preterm birth; (2) the emotional roller coaster; first time fathers emotional experiences on the neonatal unit; (3) evolving identity: fathering preterm infants as a work in progress and (4) mobilising resources: juggling paid work with visiting the neonatal unit. The pregnancy initiatives revealed the men's concern for their partner and unborn child; the preterm birth challenged prior expectations of anticipatory fatherhood and life on the neonatal unit was described as a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. Juggling paid work with visits to NIC meant that the men sometimes felt undervalued as parents. A key concept that emerged directly from the findings was the concept of disrupted biographies in the men's lives. The disruption challenged their taken for granted assumptions about fatherhood and required a mobilising of personal, social and physical resources in order for each to accommodate to becoming the father of a preterm infant. Findings from this research have implications for service users, service providers, educators and policy makers in both midwifery and neonatal care. A number of specific recommendations for policy, practice, education and research are presented in this thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available