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Nursing Students Develop Safe Sleep Teaching Tool

March 29, 2017

Sometimes, students make the best teachers. That’s the case for a group of undergraduates in the Wegmans School of Nursing, who developed a resource tool that helps nurses and clinical students teach new parents about an innovative way to practice safe sleep habits for their newborns.

Five students—Mary Broderick, Emily Gates, Emma Kubik, Daniel Pontera, and Courtney Warfle—in Professor Joanne Weinschreider’s Maternal and Childbearing Family course, taught at Newark Wayne Community Hospital, developed the resource guide around the use HALO SleepSack, a new product that replaces traditional swaddling methods for newborns and helps prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). For many students, it was their first time using a wearable blanket, and they struggled with how to provide direction on its use and purpose. To fill that educational gap, they conducted a literature review on safe sleep and crafted instructions on how to teach parents about the wraps.

“As new parents are being discharged from the hospital, nurses teach them how to put the Halo wrap on the baby, how to use it, and underscore the importance of safe sleep. This resource guide helps the nursing students understand how to teach the patient,” said Weinschreider, noting that the tool ensures students are delivering the right information with confidence.

Before finalizing the guide, students shared a draft of their tool with nurses at the hospital, who offered feedback on its content.

“The nurses had us look at their online teaching protocol, which led us to discover the importance of having the child be placed in their crib with their feet touching the bottom. This is known to help prevent the child from moving, further reducing SIDS,” said Pontera ’17. “After adding this new data into the tool, we then used it to help teach the Halo wrap to patients to ensure that it functioned to answer their questions.” 

Copies of the final product, Teaching Points for the Halo Wraps, will be housed at the hospital, as well as at the Glover-Crask Simulation Center in the School of Nursing.

“Nursing is a profession of collaboration, we all work together with the common goal of our patients receiving the best care possible. It is important that we share the knowledge we have learned with those who follow us,” said Gates ’17, one of the students behind the teaching tool.

Pontera agreed.

“The project also showed us that as students we are able to have a real lasting impact on the places in which we are learning,” he said.