Document Type

DNP - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Cynthia Elverson


Introduction: Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a growing problem and poses significant burden on the healthcare system.
Evidence summary: Three emerging themes were recognized and further guided the development and execution of the proposed DNP project: 1) A need to improve NAS assessment practices that will decrease frustration, discrepancies, and inconsistent NAS scoring. Despite specific training, inaccuracy and inconsistency still exists among nurses using traditional scoring methods, leading to a longer hospital stay. 2) Family-centered care is vital for infants with NAS. Parent education, nurse to parent coaching, and rooming-in experiences build parental competence and confidence, nurture a trusting nurse-parent relationship, and foster the mother-infant dyad. 3) Focus should be placed on developing well-structured NAS treatment protocols. Clinical practice guidelines provide healthcare providers clear direction when caring for their patients. Standardized protocols safely reduce pharmacologic therapy, length of stay, and hospital cost related to NAS.
Gaps: The literature suggests there is no consensus related to best NAS management or NAS severity assessment tools. The long-term effects of Eat, Sleep, Console (ESC) remain unknown. Additionally, ESC has not yet been studied in the preterm population.
Recommendations for practice: ESC is a simplified approach to NAS and facilitates recommendations noted in the literature review.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Neonatal nursing.
Newborn infants -- Diseases -- Nursing.
Newborn infants -- Effect of drugs on.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2019 Amber D. Tilberg