Nurse-Patient Interaction: Characterizing Support for Women with Antenatal Depression

Evans, Emily, Nursing - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Bullock, Linda, School of Nursing, University of Virginia

Purpose: To describe the nurse-patient interaction (NPI) between women experiencing antenatal depression (AND) and the Baby Behavioral Education Enhancement of Pregnancy (BEEP) nurses.
Design: This is a descriptive qualitative study of 24 phone logs kept by six research nurses as part of a weekly telephone social support intervention provided from early pregnancy through six weeks postpartum. Data were collected from low-income, rural women living in the Midwest of the United States from 2001-2006. Peplau’s Theory of Interpersonal Relations was used as a framework to guide this study.
Findings: Depressed women receiving telephone support from the Baby BEEP study nurses experienced improved depression scores over the course of the pregnancy and postpartum. Evidence of Peplau’s phases of relationship and nursing roles were abundant, with nurses acting as teachers, resources, counselors and leaders. During the NPIs, nursing services were well utilized by the women, with depressed women experiencing a higher prevalence of Peplau’s phases and roles, and addressed different topics than their counterparts who were improved.
Conclusions: Nurse-patient interaction may be a viable strategy to use in supporting women with AND. This study addresses a significant gap in the literature, suggesting a feasible, beneficial and well-received non-pharmacological intervention for women with AND.
Clinical Relevance: Nurses can use Peplau’s phases of relationship and encourage the use of nursing services by acting in many different nursing roles when seeking to support depressed women. Given the variation in mental health over the course of pregnancy and the instability in the lives of underserved women, use of NPI as an intervention to improve AND would ideally begin early in pregnancy and continue up through six weeks postpartum.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Keywords: antenatal depression, nurse-patient interaction, theory, pregnancy, low-income.
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