Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Barbara Gross


Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most frequent cause of maternal morbidity in the United States. PPD is far more prevalent than reported. The literature suggests that more than half of women experiencing PPD are untreated and unrecognized. PPD affects the health of mothers and their newborns and is associated with long-term psychological and socioeconomic implications. Varying factors may influence PPD, and it is often difficult for patients to recognize the symptoms making it critically important for health care staff to screen for PPD. The aim of this project was to determine whether an education program for nurses in an obstetrical clinic would improve the nurse’s knowledge and increase subsequent screening frequency of PPD. The clinical practice questionnaire consisted of five questions adapted from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Nursing staff education included the pretest and pertinent information about PPD as well as education about the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Once the educational program was completed, a posttest followed. Descriptive statistics guided the analysis of the data obtained from the pre and post intervention data and aided in describing results from screening. Findings from 5-item pre and posttest (N = 25) suggest improved nursing knowledge following the staff education. On 4 items, overall percentages increased from pretest to post test. No change was noted on the fifth item from pre to posttest; 0% reported being aware of a referral process for PPD. In chart audit data (N = 50), the rate of screening increased from 86% to 94%. Education on PPD has potential to influence the PPD screening to provide early recognition, diagnosis, and management to avoid maternal and child harm promoting positive social change.

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