Nurse-to-Nurse: Implementing a Perinatal Loss Resource Nurse Program


Poster Presentation

Purpose for the Program

To describe a perinatal loss resource nurse program. A transdisciplinary team was formed to assess the needs and develop a standard of compassionate care for families experiencing a perinatal loss. As a result, a perinatal loss resource nurse program has been developed to sustain the work of the team by offering nurse-to-nurse support in working with families who have experienced a perinatal loss.

Proposed Change

To create and implement a team of nurses who share a mission for providing consistent, high-quality care to patients that experience a pregnancy loss. A resource nurse is a registered nurse who functions as both a resource and change agent in a specialty area of nursing practice under the guidance and support of a resource program coordinator. Resource nurses disseminate information and collaborate with nurses, physicians, other healthcare providers, and patients and their families to facilitate quality care in a specialized area of practice.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

In order for this program to be successful, support from administration was essential. Program description and goals were discussed in detail with the managers. Once approval was obtained, interested nurses from the women's service line were recruited. After the applicants were selected, an agenda for training was distributed. The foundation for preparing the nurses for their new role was a 2-day didactic certification using the Resolve Through Sharing (RTS) program. Part of the responsibility for maintaining resource nurse status was to complete individual projects that enhanced direct care to the patients. The themes of the interventions and projects include photography program, palliative care services, emergency department grief cart, education offerings for peers, tracking and ordering of supplies, and mother-to-daughter nurse mentoring.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Nursing involvement in developing projects and protocols that enhance care of patients increases adherence, confidence, and accountability in the care in which they provide. Studies have shown that the physical and mental health concerns of families who experience a perinatal loss include grieving, potential for depression, and the risk of experiencing feelings of loss with subsequent pregnancies. The development of training programs to acquire competency in management of perinatal bereavement are necessary to prevent complicated grief and health outcomes related to ineffective coping. Implementation of a perinatal loss resource nurse program is one way to ensure patients experience the best care during this devastating time.