Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Knowledge gaps exist related to the care and education of pregnant teens. This project study addressed the problem of an inadequate amount of professional development (PD) and training for healthcare professionals (HCPs) caring for pregnant teens at a maternity clinic in the Southeastern United States. Unless HCPs are appropriately trained, the ability to meet the needs of pregnant teens is deficient and negative health outcomes for these patients are likely to be exacerbated. The humanistic learning theory was used in this phenomenological exploratory study to explore perception of 9 HCPs who had the responsibility for patient teaching, clinical care, and were full time employees at a maternity clinic. The research questions focused on the perceptions of the HCPs regarding their experiences of PD as it relates to the care of pregnant and parenting teens, strengths and weaknesses of their current PD, and how their PD could impact the health outcomes of pregnant and parenting teens. The themes developed from the interview data revealed a need for an expansion of HCP knowledge and skills to improve the healthcare of pregnant and parenting teens, as well as challenges associated with the current PD plan. The resulting project consisted of a 3-day workshop to increase the HCPs' proficiency and efficacy in caring for pregnant and parenting teens. Evaluation of the project will be through formative and summative assessment. The project contributes to positive social change at the local clinic by reinforcing the HCPs' skills in in educating, caring for, and supporting the teen parent population.