Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
The death of a neonate is a life-changing and tragic experience for the individuals involved in the final moments of the infant's life. As the frontline provider in this clinical scenario, the bedside nurse supports the patient and family through their individual journey of loss. If the nurse does not possess the palliative care educational background and communication skills to support this unique care delivery process, the journey of death can evolve into a particularly negative experience for the parents and the nurse. This specific delivery of care concern was identified and gleaned from a parental bereavement exit interview after the loss of an infant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH). Due to the lack of educational preparation, the NICU nursing staff members had demonstrated inexperience, awkwardness, and insecurity in their provision of the end-of-life care activities and family support interventions. The purpose of this doctor of nursing practice project was to develop an evidence-based neonatal palliative care educational program to support the NICU nursing staff and families at ACH. The educational program is multimodal in approach to address the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains of adult learning through the use of palliative care informational modules, videos, and simulation training. The clinical outcome of this new palliative care educational program will promote a positive change in the NICU nursing staff's clinical practice during the provision of nursing care when faced with neonatal end-of-life situations at ACH. This capstone project on adult education should be read by professional frontline nursing staff who care for these fragile patients in the specialized intensive care world of neonatology.