Nursing & Health Sciences Research Journal


Introduction: Stillbirth fetal loss (SFL) is a significant cause of infant death in the US, with 23,000 reported in 2017. Negative psychological and emotional repercussions of SFL, for parents and nurses, may be mitigated by nurses’ preparedness to provide bereavement support (BS). Several studies exploring BS for miscarriage-related fetal loss were found. However, studies exploring SFL BS and nurses’ preparedness for providing SFL BS are sparse. The purpose of this study was to assess nurses’ confidence and knowledge for providing BS to families experiencing stillbirth fetal loss.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional quantitative descriptive study. Postpartum registered nurses (RN) were recruited via email, staff meetings, posted flyers, and personal invitation. RNs completed the 43-item Perinatal Bereavement Care Confidence Scale (PBCCS) and demographic information. The PBCCS has four subscales: Bereavement Support Knowledge (BSK), Bereavement Support Skills (BSS), Self-Awareness (SA), and Organizational Support (OS). Data were collected from May to July 2021 and analyzed using Pearson’s correlation and one-way ANOVA.

Results: The sample consisted of 48 RNs. PBCCS subscale averages were BSK=50.85/75, BSS=28.72/45, SA=26.31/55, and OS=33.79/40. Statistically significant correlations (r=.311-.386) were found between BSK and age groups, BSK and level of experience, and SA and RNs who received prior BS education. Statistically significant one-way ANOVA results showed differences in a) BSK across age groups, b) BSK across experience levels, c) total PBCCS scores and age groups, and d) total PBCCS scores and prior BS education.

Discussion: Nurses’ confidence in providing BS affects the psychological/emotional well-being of parents and RNs. Results suggest RNs need further BS education with assessment of actual knowledge/skills.

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