Nursing diagnoses and theoretical frameworks in neonatal units : a literature review

Nursing diagnoses and theoretical frameworks in neonatal units : a literature review


To identify nursing diagnoses and theoretical frameworks used in neonatal units through a literature review.


Cinahl, Medline and Lilacs, database were used to perform this study. The descrip- tors used were: “Nursing Diagnosis” AND “Models, Nursing” OR “Nursing Theory” AND “Infant” OR “Newborn”. The search was limited to articles published from 2000 to November 2013. Studies were selected only if they were written in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.


In the literature review two taxonomies and six major theoretical frameworks were identified. The most frequently detected nursing diagnoses were: activity intolerance, impaired spontaneous ventilation, ineffective breathing pattern, risk for aspiration, delayed growth and development, Ineffective breastfeeding, Ineffective infant feeding pattern, hyperthermia / hypothermia, risk for infection, impaired tissue integrity, Interrupted family processes, risk for impaired parenting, risk for impaired attachment, interrupted family processes. Diagnoses applying to parents’ psychosocial sphere were identified, enabling the newborn’s integral evaluation, including the family.


Nursing diagnoses provide nurses working in neonatal units the opportunity of an effective management of the care process as well as the availability of the needed data in order to continuously improve a quality-based nursing care. The use of one model or more reference models represents a way to help professional action.


Nursing Diagnosis, Models Nursing, Nursing Theory, Infant, Newborn


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