Nurse’s Attitudes towards the Effectiveness of the Finnegan NASS
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Nursing Honors Theses; 2011
Illicit drug usage among pregnant mothers is a significant problem. The consequence is that their infants are at risk for the development of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) because of intrauterine exposure. NAS is defined as a cluster of signs and symptoms exhibited by newborn infants as they undergo withdrawal. The Finnegan Neonatal Abstinence Scoring System (NASS) allows the nurse to score the signs and symptoms exhibited by the infant who is experiencing NAS. Areas scored include the central nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory/vasomotor systems. The infant’s score guides healthcare providers in the initiation, management, and titration of pharmacologic intervention. Proper treatment of NAS allows infants to achieve growth-promoting rest and earlier hospital discharge. Criticisms of the NASS include the subjective nature of the assessment and a lack of consideration of environmental influences on the infant’s behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of nurses from a large postpartum unit in Central Ohio who routinely complete the NASS. The nurses were asked to complete an anonymous survey comprised of nine open-ended questions. Components of the survey included overall view of the scoring system, outside influences on the scoring, and the perceived subjectivity of the scoring. Content analysis was used to analyze the survey data. Preliminary analyses indicate that nurses do not believe they were adequately trained to use the NASS. The nurses report that the NASS does not effectively capture the infant’s clinical situation making these infants difficult to care for. Nurses employ multiple strategies to care for these infants. Lastly, environmental factors are not taken into consideration when completing the NASS. Further education is necessary to ensure correct usage of the NASS in clinical practice as well as use of the most effective non-pharmacologic strategies. This will ensure that the infants with NAS are receiving appropriate care.
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