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Nurses' Perceptions of Barriers and Facilitators Affecting the Shaken Baby Syndrome Education Initiative

An Exploratory Study of a Massachusetts Public Policy

Rideout, Leslie PhD, FNP

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000206

The objective of this study was to assess nurses' perceptions of barriers to and facilitators of implementation of the shaken baby syndrome (SBS)/abusive head trauma (AHT) public policy. A legislative Act providing for the prevention of SBS/AHT was passed in Massachusetts in November 2006. A stipulation of this Act was the provision of a program to educate parents/guardians of newborns about SBS/AHT prevention. A quantitative, cross-sectional research design with a qualitative component was used for this study. Nurses in 13 Massachusetts birthing hospitals were surveyed using a Web-based questionnaire (hosted by Qualtrics, Provo, Utah). Hospital nurses' responses (N = ∼ 922; 155 responded) revealed barriers to and facilitators of SBS/AHT guideline implementation. The disadvantage of Web-based surveys as they relate to the challenges of enlisting cooperation and a lack of direct access to the nurses may have attributed to the low response rate (17%) for this study. The outcomes of logistic regression analyses and themes from the qualitative analysis revealed a lack of SBS/AHT brochures and an inability to provide SBS/AHT education for non-English-speaking parents/guardians as barriers to SBS/AHT education. An atmosphere of supportive leadership facilitated implementation of the SBS/AHT education guidelines by nurses. It is imperative that nurse leadership support be sustained so that nurses have SBS/AHT education resources, an understanding of the SBS/AHT education guidelines, and feedback about the impact of their SBS/AHT education interventions.

Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Correspondence: Leslie Rideout, PhD, FNP, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington St, Box 344, Boston, MA 02111 (

The author is the Pediatric Trauma Nurse Coordinator at Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute/Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts. This research study was a PhD dissertation in the Nursing Health Policy Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The author declares no conflicts of interest or source of funding.

Copyright © 2016 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.