DOI: 10.1111/jocn.17053 ISSN: 0962-1067

Scoping review of systematic reviews of nursing interventions in a neonatal intensive care unit or special care nursery

Jann Foster, Sheeja Perumbil Pathrose, Laura Briguglio, Suza Trajkovski, Patricia Lowe, Renee Muirhead, Jeewan Jyoti, Linda Ng, Nicole Blay, Kaye Spence, Natasha Chetty, Margaret Broom
  • General Medicine
  • General Nursing



To identify, synthesise and map systematic reviews of the effectiveness of nursing interventions undertaken in a neonatal intensive care unit or special care nursery.


This scoping review was conducted according to the JBI scoping review framework.


Review included systematic reviews that evaluated any nurse‐initiated interventions that were undertaken in an NICU or SCN setting. Studies that reported one or more positive outcomes related to the nursing interventions were only considered for this review. Each outcome for nursing interventions was rated a ‘certainty (quality) of evidence’ according to the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations criteria.

Data Sources

Systematic reviews were sourced from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Joanna Briggs Institute Evidence Synthesis for reviews published until February 2023.


A total of 428 articles were identified; following screening, 81 reviews underwent full‐text screening, and 34 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Multiple nursing interventions reporting positive outcomes were identified and were grouped into seven categories. Respiratory 7/34 (20%) and Nutrition 8/34 (23%) outcomes were the most reported categories. Developmental care was the next most reported category 5/34 (15%) followed by Thermoregulation, 5/34 (15%) Jaundice 4/34 (12%), Pain 4/34 (12%) and Infection 1/34 (3%).


This review has identified nursing interventions that have a direct positive impact on neonatal outcomes. However, further applied research is needed to transfer this empirical knowledge into clinical practice.

Implications for the profession and/or patient care

Implementing up‐to‐date evidence on effective nursing interventions has the potential to significantly improving neonatal outcomes.

Patient or public contribution

No patient or public involvement in this scoping review.

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