Family-Focused-Nursing-Conversations (FFNC) have been applied in a neonatal intensive care unit, in order to facilitate partnership between families and nurses. The purpose of this study was to explore during which conditions nurses experience a development of partnership with families when using FFNC. Fourteen nurses participated in two focus-group interviews and were evaluated using the method of realist evaluation. A program theory was established and tested for its application in clinical practice. The results showed that nurses experienced FFNC as an instrument for promoting partnerships under specific conditions. Hence, partnerships were facilitated by factors such as nursing actions, family competences, mutual trust, and shared goals between families and nurses. Also, support by the head of department was important. We conclude that FFNC may improve the development of partnership between families and nurses. On the other hand, the nursing culture and missing knowledge regarding family-centered care may adversely affect the implementation of FFNC.

Keywords: realistic evaluation, family centered care, family-focused nursing, conversations, partnership, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)