Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Patricia Harris, PhD, RN, CNS
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in the infant are severe symptoms from opioid exposure in utero. These symptoms include: “central nervous system irritability, autonomic over-reactivity, and gastrointestinal tract dysfunction” (Ko et al., 2016). The treatment for NAS can be a combination of drug therapy and non-pharmacological interventions, but a standardized treatment is lacking. A review of this literature aims to evaluate the available interventions that lead to decreased symptom severity, reduction of length of hospital stay, and a reduction in the use of drug therapy. As a result of the literature review, the nurse researcher supports the standardization of treatment and consistent use of non-pharmacological interventions by nurses to reduce withdrawal symptoms and as an adjunct to drug therapy. This author recommends future research to be used to understand how consistently NICU nurses use non-pharmacological interventions. A question arose from the literature review: What are the most common non-pharmacological interventions used by NICU nurses as part of their institutional protocols? A pilot study with a mixed-methods approach will analyze how NICU nurses around San Francisco (S.F.)Bay Area implements its facility’s NAS protocols. The nurse research will create a survey with open-ended and closed-ended questions. Furthermore, it will be analyzed using descriptive and content analysis. The study will intend to help nurses in three ways: practice effective and consistent non-pharmacological interventions, increase confidence in caring for newborns affected by NAS, and be acquainted with protocols among Bay Area hospitals.