Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Andrew Makowski

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Courtney Weekley

Committee Member

Dr. Evelyn Parrish


Background: Substance use disorder (SUD) among pregnant women is a significant public health concern in the United States, particularly in Kentucky. Nursing curriculum has not kept pace with the escalating public health crisis regarding SUD. Graduating nurses joining the obstetric field are often not prepared to meet the unique care needs of this vulnerable population.

Purpose: The purpose of this DNP project was to pilot an educational intervention embedded with content regarding SUD with entry-level obstetric nurses that were enrolled in the nurse residency program at UK HealthCare.

Methods: This project used a quasi-experimental pretest – posttest design. Participants completed a pretest, an educational intervention, and a posttest. The identical pretest and posttest included knowledge questions developed by the principal investigator (PI) and attitude questions derived from a validated tool, the Drug and Drug Problems Perceptions Questionnaire (DDPPQ). The tests comprised of multiple choice, true/false, and 7-point Likert scale questions to analyze participants’ knowledge and attitudes toward SUD. Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used to compare participants’ responses before and after the intervention.

Results: The knowledge results showed clinical significance and improvement in the median score from pretest (Median = 50.0%) to posttest (Median = 60.0%), albeit not a statistically significant improvement (Z = -1.63, p = 0.102). The DDPPQ contains five subscales and all subscales showed clinical significance and improvement. Additionally, there was statistical improvement in the role adequacy (Z = -2.12, p = 0.034) and role support (Z = -2.07, p = 0.038) subscales.

Conclusion: An educational intervention is an effective tool to improve entry-level obstetric nurses’ knowledge and attitudes toward patients with SUD. The results of the pretest and posttest could be used to implement similar educational interventions across services lines in the health care system. Further studies with more diverse participants are warranted to generalize conclusions.