Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a public health concern that is increasing in the United States due to the use of illicit drugs by pregnant women, which exposes the fetus to these substances. NAS results in increased infant morbidity and prolonged stay in the hospital, which can lead to increased cost of care. The inability of the nurses to care for at-risk infants can lead to inconsistent NAS scores, which can affect the infant's care treatment. The project examined the effectiveness of educating the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses on the correct use of the modified Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Tool (FNAST) and implementing a practice protocol in the management of infants experiencing NAS, thereby reducing inconsistencies in NAS scores. Implementing clinical guidelines and proper use of the modified FNAST can lead to early intervention and treatment of infants exhibiting withdrawal symptoms. An educational session was conducted, pretests and posttests were used to evaluate the NICU nurses' baseline knowledge of the correct use of the modified FNAST and their acquired knowledge after the educational intervention on the correct use of the modified FNAST. The goal of the project was met with the NICU nurses experiencing knowledge gain evidenced by a 30% increase between the pretests and posttests and obtaining consistent NAS scores by applying the correct technique of scoring. The mastery of the use of the modified FNAST brought about social change by impacting positive attitudes and behaviors among the NICU nurses and enhancing collaboration between the physicians and nurses.