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Grant Allows Hopkins Student to Study Postpartum Education

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Posted: 12/21/2010

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) doctoral student Barbara Buchko will cap off her studies with a project addressing postpartum education for new mothers through a $1,000 grant from the South Central Organization of Nurse Leaders (SCONL). Buchko's project, titled "Improving Quality and Efficiency of Postpartum Education During Hospitalization" aims not only to improve the quality of education, but also create an effective and efficient process for providing this education to new mothers during their childbirth experience.

"This project is important because new mothers are provided with overabundant, inconsistent, and at times, irrelevant information about postpartum and newborn care," Buchko said. "Prior to discharge from the hospital, the new mother is expected to demonstrate knowledge, ability, and confidence to provide adequate care for herself and her newborn. Nurses often have insufficient time to effectively address a new mother's concerns--and as a result the mother lacks maternal understanding, which can have devastating consequences on both mother and child."

A team of nurses at York Hospital (York, PA) determined this information gap could be remedied through evidence-based research. The capstone project team (which included Buchko and the York Hospital nurses) met monthly between February and December 2010 to develop tools for nurses that would support quality education for new mothers. The team identified mothers who gave birth at York Hospital were receiving over 40 loose papers and brochures covering over 50 topics related to self- and newborn care. As a result, the team created four strategies to streamline the plethora of information mothers were receiving: 1) assess individual learning needs; 2) collaborate with the new mother to create an individualized education plan; 3) provide one-on-one education; and 4) reinforcing verbal instruction with written information.

Buchko reported that the team developed a comprehensive, color booklet containing the information from the 40+ handouts, and is already being used by mothers and nurses at York Hospital. Grant funds, including the SCONL funding, helped offset the $9,000 increase the new booklets incurred.

"The capstone team believes this project will improve the way education is provided to new mothers--and will [give] useful information in the form of portable media that is available at the new mothers' fingertips when transitioning from hospital to home," Buchko said.