Evidence-based feeding practices are often variable among neonatal providers due to lack of knowledge and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) feeding culture norms.
To evaluate changes in NICU nurses' knowledge, perceptions, feeding practices and culture following education about, and implementation of, an evidence-based Infant-Driven Feeding (IDF) protocol.
A pre-/postprospective comparative design was used to survey 120 registered nurses employed in a level 3 NICU about feeding practices, knowledge, and culture prior to IDF education and 1 to 2 months after IDF implementation.
The preeducation survey yielded 59 respondents; of these, 30 responded to the same survey after IDF implementation. Postimplementation responses were significant for fewer nurses making decisions to begin oral feedings (P = .035), greater use of gestational age to increase frequency of oral feeding attempts (P = .03), less reliance on weight loss to decrease oral feeding attempts (P = .018), an increase in use of combination interventions to prepare infants for oral feeding (P = .001), and greater willingness to allow a rest period or stop the feeding if an infant falls asleep after completing 70% of the feeding (P = .03).
Implications for Practice and Research:
Trends in several survey categories following the education program and implementation of IDF support the use of evidence-based practices (EBPs) such as IDF. Future research focused on nurses' perceptions of how education influences integration of specific EBPs into practice is needed. Evaluating EBP mentorship combined with education about EBPs can provide insights on how best to integrate EBPs into practice.