Project Lead

Professor Denise Harrison

Full Bio


Women’s and Newborn Health

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Lead partner

The University of Melbourne

Midwives and nurses in postnatal intensive, neonatal intensive and special care settings commonly report positioning as the main barrier to performing heel lance procedures while babies are being held. To address this barrier, the project team, which included parents of newborns, clinicians, organisational leaders, and an occupational health physiotherapist, co-produced a brief video demonstrating best ergonomics for nurses and midwives.

In the video, two scenarios are shown:

  • Nurse is standing while the mother is in a bed breastfeeding
  • Nurse is sitting while the mother is sitting in a chair with the baby SSC

The videos were made to be widely disseminated to relevant stakeholders for educational purposes. The remainder of the study is to conduct an evaluation of the video, via online questionnaires, with nurses and midwives to ascertain the acceptability, usefulness, and potential effectiveness of the video in improving newborn pain management.

This project received financial support from the Women’s Health Research and Translation Network (WHRTN) Establishment Grant via the MACH Women’s and Newborn Health committee.

Ensuring that the “Be Sweet to Babies” educational video is acceptable and effective for educating on proper heel lance techniques will:

  • Address the issue of reducing unnecessary pain and suffering in healthy and sick premature infants and ensure parents’ rightful opportunities to be involved during procedures
  • Enable nurses and midwives to complete a heel lance procedure confidently and skilfully on newborns in collaboration with parents
  • Allow data to be collected and used to inform future knowledge translation and effectiveness studies aimed at facilitating partnership with parents in improving newborn pain management