Purpose for the Program
Healthy People 2020 has set the goal of improving breastfeeding rates nationally. In an effort to meet these goals, breastfeeding education for staff nurses is imperative. Lactation consultants have the responsibility to not only work directly with patients but to also provide education to all postpartum nurses. Many facilities do not offer lactation consultant services during the overnight shift, which presents a unique challenge to educating staff nurses who work this shift. The purpose of this program was to provide an appropriately targeted program that met the overnight postpartum nurses’ educational needs.
A comprehensive breastfeeding educational program was developed to improve breastfeeding knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of postpartum nurses. Empowering postpartum nurses with exceptional, evidence-based education improves their confidence in providing breastfeeding support. With superior support from postpartum nurses, new mothers can avoid the many breastfeeding problems that lead to early cessation.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
To understand the perceived educational needs of the overnight shift, a committee of hospital-based lactation consultants was formed. The members of this committee carried out face-to-face interviews with staff nurses during five different overnight shifts. The identified educational needs were used to develop a Midnight Education program, which included the topics of proper latch and positioning, reason for supplementation, how to evaluate a feeding, community lactation resources, pumping, soothing a crying infant, and skin-to-skin contact to promote breastfeeding success. Tools used to deliver information included posters, videos, lactation consultant question and answer session, and pocket reference cards. The committee recruited the 18-member lactation department to participate in the development of the posters, pocket reference cards, and scenarios. Continuing education credit was obtained for participants. To engage participants, a fun theme was incorporated into the program with games, prizes, themed food, and decorations. Interactive breastfeeding scenarios were used to evaluate participants’ comprehension of the presented information. A follow-up e-mail survey was sent to participants to determine the program's effect on nursing practice.
Implications for Nursing Practice
Developing an educational program to meet a specific shift's needs takes careful planning. Making initial face-to-face contact establishes buy-in and allows proper assessment of educational needs. A team approach can create a more comprehensive program in a timely manner. Reaching more postpartum nurses intensifies breastfeeding support for patients and, thereby, improves breastfeeding outcomes.