PURPOSE: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the benefits of an online nursing education program addressing the significance and rationale of an evidence-based critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) screening protocol using pulse oximetry implemented on full-term newborns delivered at an academic obstetric referral center. The aim was to assess nurses' knowledge of the protocol and nurses' adherence to the protocol documentation before and after the education module was implemented.
SUBJECTS: Registered nurses working in the birthing center who completed the online knowledge tests and an education module.
DESIGN: A repeated-measures quality improvement study was conducted to assess nurses' knowledge of the evidence supporting CCHD screening by pulse oximetry and adherence to the correct documentation of the screening protocol before, immediately after, and 3 months following participation in an online education module.
METHODS: Nurses' knowledge of the CCHD screening protocol was determined by the number of correct answers on a 10-item online test administered before and after the education module. Adherence to correct documentation of the protocol before and after the education intervention was evaluated. The medical charts of 300 newborns delivered at the center with pulse oximetry readings performed after 24 hours of age and before discharge were randomly selected and reviewed.
RESULTS: A significant improvement in knowledge test scores was observed immediately after the education module (9.1 ± 1.0), relative to baseline (8.4 ± 1.2; paired t = 3.02, P = .0046). A significant increase in knowledge test scores measured at baseline, immediately after, and 3 months postintervention was also indicated (F = 3.25; df = 2, 24; P = .0564). Documentation of the protocol in the medical charts for the location of the readings significantly improved after the educational intervention (right hand: 28%, 83%, and 90%; right foot: 27%, 82%, and 89%; both P < .0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Providing education to staff before implementing new practice changes enhances their knowledge. Quality improvement monitoring is recommended to ensure nursing adherence to any practice change.