Discharge teaching needs of parents in the NICU

Neonatal Netw. 1995 Feb;14(1):49-53.


Teaching parents how to care for their infant in the NICU can be a challenge. This study investigated card sort as a teaching aid. Proposed by many investigators to improve the effectiveness of nurses' teaching interventions, card sort is based on Q-technique, once used in research, now adapted as a teaching tool. Card sort involves parents in sorting out topics of information according to their own priorities. A pilot study was designed to test this method in the NICU. Ten parents and seven nurses participated in this trial. The parents were asked to sort a set of 17 colorful 5 x 7 inch cards into three piles (from least important to most important); each card was labeled with a discharge teaching topic. The nurses working with these parents also sorted the cards, and their responses were compared to those of the parents. Although parents' and nurses' discharge teaching priorities differed, both groups ranked CPR and signs and symptoms of illness as priorities. There are many advantages of the card sort method in relation to adult learning and social cognition theory. Parents are clearly the best source for determining their own teaching needs, and card sort is a useful tool that involves parents in discharge teaching through self-assessment of needs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Male
  • Parents / education*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Teaching Materials*