To explore nurses’ descriptions of maternal mortality when caring for women in the perinatal period in Indiana.
A qualitative descriptive approach was used to produce nurses’ descriptions of maternal mortality.
Convenience sample of 16 nurses recruited from the Indiana Section of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.
Semistructured phone interviews were conducted, and participants were asked to explain their experiences related to maternal mortality. This information, which was summarized using content analysis, provided data related to nurses’ descriptions of maternal mortality when caring for women in the perinatal period.
Analysis revealed three main themes that explain nurses’ descriptions of maternal mortality: When It Comes to Maternal Mortality: Out of Sight Is Out of Mind, Nurses Express Detachment From Their Role in Preventing Maternal Mortality, and Experience With Maternal Mortality or a Near-Miss Event Is a Turning Point for Nurses.
Nurses who have limited experience with maternal mortality and who approach the issue in a detached manner may miss opportunities to provide health education to women in the perinatal period. Nurses need education on substance use disorders in the perinatal period, guidance on how to support women in the postpartum period, and support for coping with death and dying in the perinatal period.