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AnteayerNursing Research

Factors Associated With Quality of Life Among People Living With a Stoma in Nonmetropolitan Areas

imageBackground Interruption of gastrointestinal continuity through surgical formation of a stoma can be lifesaving. However, it is also typically associated with reduced quality of life (QoL). Although past research has investigated QoL among people living with a stoma, no known studies have investigated stoma-related QoL, specifically among nonmetropolitan residents who may experience distinct health issues compared with their metropolitan counterparts. Objectives The aim of the study was to investigate the level of and factors associated with QoL among people living with a stoma in nonmetropolitan Australia. Methods In a cross-sectional survey, 678 adults with colostomy, ileostomy, and/or urostomy and with membership in a regional Victorian stoma association were given the City of Hope Quality of Life Questionnaire for a Patient With an Ostomy (QOL-O). Total QoL score was calculated and described before categorization into quintiles. Patient factors associated with quintiles of QoL were assessed using univariable and multivariable proportional odds ordinal logistic regression, with a 95% confidence interval excluding 1.00 denoting statistical significance. Results Overall, 311 regional ostomy association members (46%) responded to any QOL-O questions; 285 members responded to >80% of QOL-O questions and contributed data to the study. Their median age was 73 years, and 60% were male. The median total QoL score was 6.9 on a scale of 0–10, where a higher number indicates better QoL. Factors independently associated with better QoL in the multivariable model were working full/part time, no poststoma clothing change, poststoma sexual activity, and older age. Factors independently associated with worse QoL were poststoma depression and a stoma location issue. Discussion People living with a stoma in nonmetropolitan Australia reported moderate-to-high QoL. Better QoL was identified in those who worked, had no poststoma clothing change, were sexually active poststoma, and were older. Worse QoL was seen in those who had poststoma depression and stoma location issues. Healthcare providers could influence stoma-related QoL by identifying risk factors and tailoring interventions toward individuals in nonmetropolitan settings.

Getting Reviewed

Por: Pickler · Rita H.
No abstract available

Associations Between Dysmenorrhea Symptom-Based Phenotypes and Vaginal Microbiome: A Pilot Study

imageBackground Dysmenorrhea is highly prevalent; it places women at risk for other chronic pain conditions. There is a high degree of individual variability in menstrual pain severity, the number of painful sites, and co-occurring gastrointestinal symptoms. Distinct dysmenorrhea symptom-based phenotypes were previously identified, but the biological underpinnings of these phenotypes are less known. One underexplored contributor is the vaginal microbiome. The vaginal microbiota differs significantly among reproductive-age women and may modulate as well as amplify reproductive tract inflammation, which may contribute to dysmenorrhea symptoms. Objectives The objective of this study was to examine associations between dysmenorrhea symptom-based phenotypes and vaginal microbiome compositions on- and off-menses. Methods We conducted a prospective, longitudinal, pilot study of 20 women (aged 15–24 years) grouped into three dysmenorrhea symptom-based phenotypes: “mild localized pain,” “severe localized pain,” and “severe multiple pain and gastrointestinal symptoms.” Over one menstrual cycle, participants provided vaginal swabs when they were on- and off-menses. We assayed the vaginal microbiome using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Permutational multivariate analysis of variance tests were used to compare microbiome compositions across phenotypes, with heat maps generated to visualize the relative abundance of bacterial taxa. Results The vaginal microbiome compositions (n = 40) were different across the three phenotypes. After separating the on-menses (n = 20) and off-menses (n = 20) specimens, the statistically significant difference was seen on-menses, but not off-menses. Compared to the “mild localized pain” phenotype, participants in the “multiple severe symptoms” phenotype had a lower lactobacilli level and a higher abundance of Prevotella, Atopobium, and Gardnerella when on-menses. We also observed trends of differences across phenotypes in vaginal microbiome change from off- to on-menses. Discussion The study provides proof-of-concept data to support larger studies on associations between dysmenorrhea symptom-based phenotypes and vaginal microbiome that might lead to new intervention targets and/or biomarkers for dysmenorrhea. This line of research has the potential to inform precision dysmenorrhea treatment that can improve women’s quality of life.

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Patients With Breast Cancer

imageBackground The physical and psychological well-being of patients with breast cancer is an important global issue. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) aims to equip patients with the skills to respond and adapt to difficult circumstances. However, the extent of the physical and psychological outcomes of this therapy in patients with breast cancer remains unclear. Objectives The aim of the study was to summarize available evidence and assess the efficacy of ACT on physiological and psychological outcomes in patients with breast cancer. Methods Published randomized controlled studies were identified in MEDLINE, PsycInfo, Embase, Web of Science, CINAHL, and CNKI from inception to December 2019 and Cochrane Library, AMED, and Clinical from inception to September 2020. Methodological rigor was assessed by two reviewers using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Review of Interventions. Sufficient data were statistically pooled with review manager; otherwise, a narrative summary was used. Results Thirteen trials were included in the review. Methodological quality varied across the studies. Meta-analyses demonstrated that ACT had moderate to large effects on reducing anxiety, depression, and stress and improving hope. Sensitivity analyses reached results similar to those of the meta-analyses. However, the effects of ACT on the physiological symptoms, fear of cancer recurrence, and psychological flexibility of patients with breast cancer remain inconclusive. Discussion ACT has beneficial effects on the anxiety, depression, stress, and hope of patients with breast cancer. The evidence of ACT on physiological symptoms, fear of cancer recurrence, and psychological flexibility needs to be treated with caution. Further studies are needed and should consider different delivery forms and also explore the mechanisms of each component of ACT under different cultural contexts.

Personalized Behavioral Nutrition Among Older Asian Americans: Study Protocol

imageBackground Metabolomics profiling is an objective assessment of metabolic responses to intricate dietary patterns. However, few studies have investigated the potential benefits associated with personalized behavioral nutrition (PBN) interventions incorporating the metabolomics approach for improving diabetes outcomes for older Asian Americans with Type 2 diabetes. Objective This article describes the protocol for a pilot study testing self-management of a nutrition intervention-provided personalized dietary advice incorporating metabolites phenotypic feedback and digital self-monitoring of diet and blood glucose. Methods A total of 60 older Asian Americans will be randomized into two groups: a PBN group and a control group. Participants in the PBN group will receive personalized dietary advice based on dietary and phenotypic feedback-used metabolic profiles. This study aims to examine the feasibility and preliminary effects of the PBN on diabetes outcomes. Results The study began in September 2020, with estimated complete data collection by late 2021. Discussion Findings from this pilot study will inform future research for developing personalized nutrition interventions for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Predictors of Participation in Clinical Research

imageBackground Despite numerous efforts to create more equitable healthcare systems, minority populations face long-standing health disparities compared to White populations. Healthcare research is the necessary foundation for creating equitable health systems and providing patient-centered care. Significant challenges exist, however, with recruiting and engaging underrepresented populations in clinical research. Objectives The purpose of this analysis was to determine how research participants' race, trust, and level of education influence participation barriers in clinical research. Methods The study used secondary, cross-sectional survey data that were collected between 2014 and 2016 through the former Mid-South Clinical Data Research Network, currently known as the Stakeholders, Technology, and Research Clinical Research Network. Descriptive statistics and Spearman rank correlations were performed between level of education, level of trust, and each attitude statement for each racial category. Results A total of 2,190 survey responses were used in the data analysis. The mean age of respondents was 52 years, with majority being women, White, insured, and working full time. Overall, the respondents had favorable attitudes toward research participation. Trust was correlated with agreement in many attitude statements for both White and African American respondents, whereas correlations with education level were more variable depending on racial grouping. Trust level was negatively associated with agreement toward the statement “researchers do not care about me” in White and Native American respondents. Discussion The results support the importance of trust to research participation. Generally, education level was not strongly predictive of research participation, although prediction was influenced by race and attitude.

Poor Sleep Predicts Increased Pain Perception Among Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment

imageBackground Older adults with mild cognitive impairment are at an increased risk for dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. These older adults also report poorer sleep and more pain than their cognitively intact adult counterparts. Poor sleep and pain are both symptoms associated with an increased risk for dementia in later life. Symptom science research in the direction of how poor sleep affects pain among older adults, especially those with mild cognitive impairment, is needed for the development of targeted sleep interventions to reduce pain and potentially delay/reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in this population. Objective The aim of the study was to examine a predictive model of the relationship between poor sleep and pain perception among community-dwelling older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Methods A longitudinal prospective design with 58 continuous matched sleep–pain observations of 15 older adults with mild cognitive impairment for up to 6 months was used. Multilevel, mixed-modeling, statistical techniques were used to examine the effects of prior-week sleep on subsequent pain perception. Pain perception (pain intensity, pain interference, and pain behavior) is measured by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System during monthly in-person visits. The ActiGraph GT3X+ was used to measure sleep (total sleep time, sleep efficiency, awakenings after sleep onset) objectively and continuously for up to 6 months, along with other covariates (e.g., physical activity). Results Increased awakenings after sleep onset in the prior week is associated with increased pain intensity, pain interference, and pain behavior. There was a trend toward sleep efficiency, and increased pain intensity and sleep efficiency predicted increased pain interference and pain behavior. There was no relationship between prior-week total sleep time and subsequent pain perception. Discussion In this study, poor sleep in the prior week increased pain intensity, pain interference, and pain behavior. Interventions designed to decrease awakening after sleep onset and increase sleep efficiency specifically may effectively reduce pain in this population. Given that these symptoms are prevalent among older adults with mild cognitive impairment, sleep and pain interventions may also ameliorate some of the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in this population.

Circadian Rhythms in Sudden Cardiac Arrest: A Review

imageBackground Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a serious public health issue caused by the cessation of cardiac electrical and mechanical activity. Despite advances in pedestrian lifesaving technologies like defibrillators, the SCA mortality rate remains high, and survivors are at risk of suffering ischemic injury to various organs. Understanding the contributing factors for SCA is essential for improving morbidity and mortality. One factor capable of influencing SCA incidence and survival is the time of day at which SCA occurs. Objectives This review focused on the effect of time of day on SCA incidence, survival rate, and survival to discharge over the past 30 years and the role of age, sex, and SCA location in modulating the timing of SCA. Methods The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews criteria guided this review. Four databases (PubMed, Cochrane Libraries, Scopus, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) were queried for research reports or articles addressing time of day and cardiac arrest, which were subsequently screened by the authors for inclusion in this analysis. Results A total of 48 articles were included in the final analysis. This analysis showed a bimodal SCA distribution with a primary peak in the morning and a secondary peak in the afternoon; these peaks were dependent on age (older persons), sex (more frequent in males), and the location of occurrence (out-of-hospital cardiac arrest vs. in-hospital cardiac rest). Survival following SCA was lowest between midnight and 06:00 a.m. Discussion The circadian rhythm likely plays an important role in the time-of-day-dependent pattern that is evident in both the incidence of and survival following SCA. There is a renewed call for nursing research to examine or address circadian rhythm as an element in studies involving older adults and activities affecting cardiovascular or respiratory parameters.

Influencing Factors of Inflammatory Bowel Disease–Fatigue: A Path Analysis Model

imageBackground Fatigue is a common symptom in adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is influenced by many physiological, psychological, and situational factors. However, the influencing factors of fatigue associated with IBD have not been evaluated. Objective This study aims to examine factors associated with fatigue during IBD and develop a parsimonious model that describes the influencing factors of fatigue. Methods The study was a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data obtained from IBD Partners, an online cohort of adults with the disease, including 12,053 eligible participants. Data were collected using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System short-form scales measuring fatigue, sleep disturbances, pain interference, anxiety, depression, and satisfaction with social roles. Physical activity was measured using a single question. Demographic and clinical variables were collected. Path analysis was computed to identify the direct and indirect effects of situational, physiological, and psychological factors on IBD–fatigue based on the middle range theory of unpleasant symptoms’ conceptual framework. Results Most of the participants were White females. The data best fit a model with situational factors (physical activity and satisfaction with social roles as the mediators). The direct effect of IBD activity, age, sleep disturbances, pain interference, anxiety, and depression on IBD–fatigue was significant. Significant indirect effects were noted on IBD–fatigue from sleep disturbances, pain interference, and depression via physical activity and satisfaction with social roles. Discussion The study identified two important intervening variables from the tested model. In addition, other symptoms such as sleep, pain, anxiety, and depression are essential and also influence IBD–fatigue.

Self-Efficacy, Outcome Expectations, Group Social Support, and Adherence to Physical Activity in African American Women

imageBackground African American women have lower levels of leisure time physical activity compared to White American women. Interventions to improve physical activity have mixed benefits for African American women, even when guided by theory. Understanding how theoretical constructs used in physical activity interventions relate to changing behavior may provide direction for more successful interventions. Objective The study aimed to examine the relationships among social cognitive constructs (self-efficacy, social support from group behavioral meetings, outcome expectations/realizations), and change in physical activity from baseline to 48 weeks in African American women participating in a lifestyle physical activity program. Methods A secondary data analysis of longitudinal data using a correlational design was conducted using data from a 48-week physical activity randomized controlled trial (RCT). The RCT included a group behavioral meeting component with one of three telephone intervention conditions (no calls, personal motivation calls, or automated motivational calls) randomly assigned across six community healthcare sites. The participants were 260 sedentary, midlife African American women with no major signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease who completed baseline and 48-week assessments of the RCT. Measures included self-efficacy for change in overcoming barriers to physical activity at 24 weeks, physical and psychological outcome realizations at 24 weeks, social support from group behavioral meetings at 24 weeks, and physical activity (self-report and device-measured) change from baseline to 48 weeks. Results In a hierarchical regression model predicting change in self-reported time spent in weekly moderate–vigorous physical activity at 48 weeks, psychological outcome realizations at 24 weeks were significant positive predictors. In a hierarchical regression model for change in device-measured daily steps at 48 weeks, a self-efficacy change at 24 weeks was a significant positive predictor. Discussion Attention should be given to increasing self-efficacy to overcome physical activity barriers and achieve self-identified physical and psychological outcomes in physical activity programs.

Pain Behaviors and Pharmacological Pain Management Among Newly Admitted Nursing Home Residents

imageBackground Clinicians may place more weight on vocal complaints of pain than the other pain behaviors when making decisions about pain management. Objectives We examined the association between documented pain behaviors and pharmacological pain management among nursing home residents. Methods We included 447,684 residents unable to self-report pain, with staff-documented pain behaviors (vocal, nonverbal, facial expressions, protective behaviors) and pharmacological pain management documented on the 2010–2016 Minimum Data Set 3.0. The outcome was no pharmacological pain medications, as needed only (pro re nata [PRN]), as scheduled only, or as scheduled with PRN medications. We estimated adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals from multinomial logistic models. Results Relative to residents with vocal complaints only, those with one pain behavior documented (i.e., nonverbal, facial, or protective behavior) were more likely to lack pain medication versus scheduled and PRN medications. Residents with multiple pain behaviors documented were least likely to have no treatment relative to scheduled with PRN medications, PRN only, or scheduled only pain medication regimens. Discussion The type and number of pain behaviors observed are associated with pharmacological pain management regimen. Improving staff recognition of pain among residents unable to self-report is warranted in nursing homes.

Effect of Nurse Practitioner Interventions on Hospitalizations in the Community Transitions Intervention Trial

imageBackground Despite improvements in hypertension treatment in the United States, Black and Hispanic individuals experience poor blood pressure control and have worse hypertension-related outcomes compared to Whites. Objective The aim of the study was to determine the effect on hospitalization of supplementing usual home care (UHC) with two hypertension-focused transitional care interventions—one deploying nurse practitioners (NPs) and the other NPs plus health coaches. Methods We examined post hoc the effect of two hypertension-focused NP interventions on hospitalizations in the Community Transitions Intervention trial—a three-arm, randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of (a) UHC with (b) UHC plus a 30-day NP transitional care intervention or (c) UHC plus NP plus 60-day health coach intervention. Results The study comprised 495 participants: mean age = 66 years; 57% female; 70% Black, non-Hispanic; 30% Hispanic. At the 3- and 12-month follow-up, all three groups showed a significant decrease in the average number of hospitalizations compared to baseline. The interventions were not significantly different from UHC. Conclusion The results of this post hoc analysis show that, during the study period, decreases in hospitalizations in the intervention groups were comparable to those in UHC, and deploying NPs provided no detectable value added. Future research should focus on testing ways to optimize UHC services.

Methods for Our Madness

Por: Pickler · Rita H.
No abstract available

Pivoting Nursing Research and Scholarship During the COVID-19 Pandemic

imageBackground The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges for conducting the human subjects research needed to advance science and improve health. Objectives The purpose of this article is to discuss how a college of nursing at a large public university in the southeast United States has responded to the challenges of conducting research during the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Methods Seven faculty researchers at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing share their experiences in overcoming the unique challenges of conducting research because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Strategies to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 are presented within the context of the research process, career implications, communication, and maintaining morale. Results Fears of COVID-19 and social distancing measures have hindered participant recruitment, enrollment, and involvement in ongoing studies. Increasing virtual technology use and enhancing safety precautions have assisted researchers to overcome barriers. Scholarly writing has increased for some faculty members whose studies have been stalled by the pandemic, yet others have seen a decline because of additional personal responsibilities. The careers of faculty members across all ranks have been uniquely affected by the pandemic. With most faculty working remotely, enhanced communication strategies at the university and college have supported the research enterprise. Morale has been adversely affected, but a variety of personal and collegial efforts have helped faculty cope and preserve a sense of normalcy during this devastating pandemic. Discussion Faculty and their ability to conduct the research needed to inform clinical and public health practice have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges of conducting research during this unprecedented crisis, faculty and institutions are taking novel steps to ensure the continuity of scientific progress for improving the health and well-being of patients and populations.

Applying Community-Engaged Intervention Mapping to Preparing Nurse Scientists

imageBackground Preventing and managing chronic illness necessitates multilevel, theory-based interventions targeting behaviors, environmental factors, and personal determinants that increase risk for illness onset, greater burden, and poorer outcomes. Objectives The purpose of this article is to provide the basis for multilevel interventions, describe community-engaged intervention mapping as an approach to designing theory-based interventions, and discuss potential benefits of applying community-engaged intervention mapping in preparing nurse scientists to build programs of interdisciplinary research in preventing and managing chronic illness. Methods Community-engaged intervention mapping integrates two methodological approaches: intervention mapping and community-engaged research. Results The six-step intervention mapping approach provides a logical structure for preparing nurse scientists in designing, adapting, and implementing multilevel, theory-based interventions. Community-engaged research approaches offer principles and direction for engaging patients, clinicians, community members, and other stakeholders throughout the research process. Integrating these methods retains the theoretical integrity of interventions; improves the relevance and timely completion of the research and its products; and enhances intended beneficiaries and the community’s understanding, trust, and use of the results. Discussion Potential benefits of preparation in community-engaged intervention mapping to nurse scientists and nursing science include explicit consideration of multilevel factors influencing health. Additional benefits include guidance for linking relevant constructs from behavior- and environment-oriented theories with evidence-based methods for affecting desired changes in care and quality of life outcomes. Moreover, enhancement of the theoretical fidelity of the intervention, explication of the mechanisms influencing change in the primary outcome, and improved relevance and feasibility of interventions for intended beneficiaries and potential adopters are other benefits.

Using Photo-Elicitation Interviews With Families of Children and Adolescents With Chronic Illness

imageBackground Despite the increasing number of studies using photo-elicitation for data collection in qualitative research, there is a need to further explore its use among families of children and adolescents living with chronic illness. Objective The aim of this study was to discuss methodological and pragmatic considerations about the use of photo-elicitation interviews (PEIs) for data collection with families of children and adolescents living with chronic illness. Methods We discussed methodological aspects of using PEIs as reported in publications. A search of the literature was carried out to identify articles presenting information on methodological aspects of the use of PEIs in qualitative data collection, regardless of age group. In pursuit of complementing the evidence with pragmatic considerations of using PEIs, we illustrate with an example of a recent qualitative study of our own that aimed to understand the narratives about hope of families of children and adolescents living with chronic illness. Results We synthesized common aspects that need to be considered when using PEIs with different populations: ethical issues, cameras, guidance, and interviews. We also presented our experience of using the PEI technique to collect data from families. Because of our experience, we denominate our method as the “family photo-elicitation interview” (FPEI). Our method goes beyond the PEI technique because it integrates aspects of family nursing theories when conducting interviews with families. FPEIs strengthen family interaction and allow family members to share their perspectives. Discussion We present a new perspective of PEIs—the FPEI—in the pediatric context. Previous studies have not addressed considerations about using PEIs for families. We hope our results assist novice researchers in planning and implementing FPEIs in qualitative research. We recommend that researchers explore the use of FPEIs in other contexts, such as geriatrics or palliative care.

Longitudinal Moderated Mediation Analysis in Parallel Process Latent Growth Curve Modeling in Intervention Studies

imageBackground Intervention studies are used widely in nursing research to explore the efficacy of intervention programs for changing targeted health outcomes. However, the analyses of such studies have focused predominantly on their main intervention effects; most studies ignore the mechanisms underlying how the intervention programs work partly because of lack of application details of the longitudinal mediation analysis techniques. Objectives The aim of this study was to illustrate an application of parallel process latent growth curve modeling (PP-LGCM) to examine longitudinal moderated mediation effects. Methods Longitudinal data from an online bone health intervention study were used to demonstrate the step-by-step application of PP-LGCM with Mplus statistical software. Results With modification indices, we were able to achieve adequate model fit for PP-LGCM in our data. The mediation effects of self-efficacy on the intervention effects on exercise were nonsignificant for the entire sample. However, the conditional indirect effect showed the mediation effects were moderated by age group. Discussion PP-LGCM provides an efficient way to analyze and explain the underlying mechanisms for the intervention effects in a trial, especially when the intervention program is guided by a theory.

Recruiting Nurses Via Social Media for Survey Studies

imageBackground Nurses are a difficult population to recruit for research. Barriers to recruitment of nurses include survey fatigue, hospital structures and institutional review boards as gatekeepers to accessing participants, and limited generalizability of findings. Social media present innovative opportunities to recruit participants for survey research. However, there is limited information about best practices for recruiting nurses through social media. Objectives The aim of this report was to examine the advantages and disadvantages of and determine the best practices for recruiting nurses for survey studies via social media. Methods We examined recruitment strategies of three survey studies involving nurse participants. Each study used social exchange theory and leverage-saliency theory to guide recruitment. The studies included were (a) the Travel Nurse Onboarding Study, which recruited participants from a single closed group on Facebook; (b) the Presenteeism and Nursing Study where participants were recruited using association listservs, healthcare organizations, and paid ads and postings on social media; and (c) the Pain and Nursing Study in which participants were recruited through social media, association listservs, and in person at conferences. Results Social media offer accessible, low-cost, high-yield approaches to recruitment of nurses for survey studies. Discussion Useful strategies for crafting effective recruitment via social media are presented, including how, where, when, and how often to post. The generalizability of social media research is also discussed. Suggestions are provided for researchers using social media as well as guidelines for institutional review boards to address gray areas of social media research. Data integrity protection techniques are proposed to ensure social media survey data are not corrupted by malicious bots. This report outlines best practices for the recruitment of nurses for survey studies using social media.

Measures of Lactation Outcomes in Women Delivering Preterm Infants

imageBackground Mother’s own milk (MOM) is well known to decrease prematurity-related morbidities, yet mothers delivering preterm infants often produce insufficient quantities of milk to provide these benefits. Although a critical need exists for research to support lactation success in this vulnerable population, development and investigation of interventions to increase available MOM for infant consumption requires consistent, valid, and reliable measures of lactation outcomes. Objectives The aim of this study was to compare and contrast methods of measuring lactation outcomes in mothers of preterm infants and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages. Methods Measures of lactation outcomes were reviewed and synthesized. Insights on best practices and future research directions are provided. Results Volume of MOM produced, lactation duration, and time to onset of secretory activation are important measures of lactation success. The most valid and reliable measure of milk production is likely weighing each vial of expressed milk combined with test weighing when infants breastfeed. Measures of lactation duration should include actual days mothers lactated rather than limiting to infant consumption of MOM as a proxy for duration and include not only whether mothers are lactating at infant discharge but whether they are also lactating at other health-relevant time points during hospitalization. Although time to onset of secretory activation is an important lactation outcome, information regarding valid and reliable indicators of onset in women delivering preterm infants is limited, and investigation of such indicators is a research priority. Variables that may affect lactation outcomes, including time to initiation of expression following delivery, duration of expression sessions, expression method, time spent in skin-to-skin care, maternal demographics and comorbidities, as well as maternal intent to lactate, must be considered when researchers investigate lactation outcomes in mothers of very low birth weight infants. Discussion Consistent and valid measures of lactation outcomes are required to produce reliable results from which evidence-based practice recommendations can be developed in order to improve lactation success in this vulnerable population.