About Margaret (Peggy)  Doyle Settle, PhD, RN, NE-BC

Dr. Settle is a PhD prepared Nurse Director in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Massachusetts General Hospital with over 30 years of nursing experience in a variety of roles (staff nurse, educator, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Director) in NICUs across Massachusetts. Her research and quality focus have been on the environment of care including the technology utilized to deliver treatments, interventions that improve the preterm infant’s experience, and interventions that improve the clinicians experience. Currently, she is involved in research related to the preterm infant's achievement of independent oral feeding.

Research Summary

Dr. Settle studies preterm infant behaviors that indicate readiness to orally feed. Inappropriately timed feedings can lead to long term health consequences including oral aversion, poor growth, and speech delays. Utilizing an Infant Driven Feeding method, her group investigates the influence the NICU unit design and caregiver feeding expertise have on the preterm infant’s skillful achievement of independent oral feeding and length of stay. Dr. Settle plans to correlate a recently identified salivary biomarker for feeding readiness with the behaviors in the Infant Driven Feeding scales to establish reliability and validity of the method. Empirically validating an the Infant Driven Feeding Scales with salivary biomarkers will enable clinicians to provide evidenced-based care and understand the attainment of independent oral feeding in relation to length of stay. Additionally, Dr. Settle investigates the parent’s perceptions of their infant’s participation in research studies.

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