Beginnings: An Educational Foundation for Perinatal Nurses


Poster Presentation

Purpose for the Program

With the 2006 opening of Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies (WPH), a large tertiary care hospital, an influx of graduate nurses were hired. To provide optimum patient care for this specialty population, it was identified that standardized education was needed.

Proposed Change

Information received from hospital administration, clinical managers, and educators served as the basis for the new course, Beginnings, which started in January 2008. The format was developed to provide novice nurses with an all-inclusive women and newborn educational experience. Course presentations utilized the 2008 Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Newborn Nurses (AWHONN) Perinatal and Education Program (POEP).

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

The course began as a 7-day class and soon evolved into a 2-week comprehensive program. Format and presentations blended didactics with case studies, simulations, and clinical opportunities. Additionally, the focus on student guidance and support was emphasized. Requirements for successful course completion included daily assessments and a post test with a minimum score of 84%. The Beginnings class was recognized as “core” specialty-education in women and newborn care for novice nurses, as well as for all nurses entering all areas of women's services at WPH. Course evaluations were overwhelmingly positive. After the fact, it was noted that the retention rate was greater than 90% for those that attended the Beginnings course from January 2008 through December 2011.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Development of the Beginnings class continues to serve as the foundation of nursing knowledge for the graduate nurse by incorporating the Nursing Professional Practice Model and Magnet components, which utilize evidence-based practice, provide standardization, and support nursing practice for optimum patient-first care.