Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Catherine Garner


AbstractIn the initial postpartum period, exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) improves women's and children's health status and outcomes. Gaps in nursing practice that decrease the rate of EBF during hospitalization at this site were identified by the lactation consultant using a standard chart audit during the last two years. The purpose of this Doctor of Nursing Practice education project was to provide a comprehensive education program that included the purpose, philosophy, nursing practice, and evaluation tools for increasing the EBF rates to meet the Joint Commission’s standard of improvement for perinatal care core measures. A formal educational program that included didactic and hands on skills labs increased the knowledge and self-efficacy of perinatal nurses regarding best practice for exclusive breastfeeding. Using the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation model, the education program had both didactic instruction and a one-hour skills lab experience. Based on post program survey results, 90% of participants reported increased knowledge and self-efficacy with plans to change future practice based on the information gained during the online program and the hands-on skills lab. This educational intervention has the potential to address the gaps in practice identified in the audits. As the percentage of exclusively breastfed infants in the hospital increases, exclusive breastfeeding rates should also increase for the recommended 6 months. The increased EBF should result in the social change of improved maternal and child bonding and improved infant and child health.