Phenomena of Neonatology

  • Author / Creator
    van Manen, Michael A
  • PURPOSE AND PROBLEM: Neonatology, the study of the newborn, marks the moment when the infant enters the world and encounters the parent. As the branch of medicine concerned with caring for this new child, neonatology facilitates the process of receiving the child. It is after the delivery, the birth, that the newborn becomes a child, a relational being with a parent. With this moment, the newborn does not just enter the pre-existing world of the culture; the newborn is the originator of the social, the family. Some infants are not simply received by their parents. Their birth is complicated by prematurity or medical problems prompting admission to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The NICU is a techno-medical place equipped with technologies and personnel such that the parents may rarely find themselves situated in relation just with their child. How does such a parent experience his or her child? How do the techno-medical aspects mediate the relation? And consequently, what is the meaning of the ethical decisions that unfold? This study aims to gain insight into these experiences by considering the ethical encounter of the parent with the newborn child in the NICU. METHODOLOGY AND METHODS: The project is situated within a qualitative methodology, phenomenology of practice. This is a context-sensitive form of interpretive inquiry blending philosophical, human science, and philological methods. The aim is to identify and explore eidetic meaning aspects of the phenomenon of neonatology in text. Source experiential material was gathered by observation and interview of parents of children admitted to NICUs. SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY: The parental experience of encountering the newborn child in the NICU is a particularly consequential and overlooked area of study. The research papers of this study aim to facilitate knowledge translation by striving to develop insightful understanding in the people involved in this phenomenon. In other words, through presenting thematic events, evocative anecdotes, and reflective texts, the professional or lay reader may become more attuned to the ethical experiences that parents may encounter as their children require care in a NICU.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Medical Sciences-Paediatrics
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Austin, Wendy (Nursing)
    • Byrne, Paul (Paediatrics)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Seamon, David (Architecture)
    • Cheung, Po-Yin (Paediatrics)
    • Adams, Catherine (Secondary Education)
    • Cameron, Brenda (Nursing)
    • Brett-MacLean, Pamela (Medicine)