Date of Award

Summer 2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Family Nurse Practitioner



Faculty Chair

Dr. Sherron DeWeese


Molly Desai


Postpartum depression (PPD) affects approximately 19% of all postpartum women. Evidence indicates an increased risk for mothers of hospitalized infants, with estimates ranging from 28% to 67%. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Bright Futures recommend mothers be screened for postpartum depression at the infants’ well-child appointments. During hospitalizations, there are no well-child appointments; thus, no postpartum depression screening. This project aims to 1) improve knowledge of PPD in the staff of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and 2) investigate the staff’s interest level in implementing a PPD screening protocol. Utilizing the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) framework, a protocol was developed to screen postpartum mothers at 1-, 2-, 4-, and 6-month intervals. Staff of the NICU received a 30-minute educational presentation on PPD, the developed PPD screening protocol, and available resources for mothers who screen positive for PPD. The effectiveness of the education was measured using pre-and post-education Likert-style surveys. Outcomes, as measured by a self-reported Likert survey, indicated a ~74% increase in PPD knowledge and a ~64% increase in willingness to screen for PPD in the NICU. This project suggests that educating NICU staff increases knowledge and willingness to screen for PPD in the NICU. This quality improvement project adds to the growing body of literature that inpatient PPD screening is feasible and necessary.



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