Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Baker, Leann

Committee Member

Barton, Sharon

Author's Keywords

developmental positioning; education; neonatal intensive care unit; preterm; neurodevelopment; posture


Background: An estimated 15 million infants worldwide are born prematurely each year. These infants are at an increased risk of poor physical and neurodevelopment because of increased stress and inappropriate sensory stimuli experienced in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The provision of developmentally supportive care can mitigate some of these noxious effects. By decreasing stress and conserving energy, developmentally supportive positioning can enhance sensory, motor, and neurodevelopment. Purpose: The purpose of this quality improvement project is to improve the positioning of premature neonates through an educational intervention and staff training on the importance of developmentally supportive positioning. Improved positioning is evidenced by an increase in Infant Positioning Assessment Tool (IPAT) scores after staff education on the importance of developmental care and proper positioning of premature infants. Methods: Baseline infant positioning was examined using IPAT scores prior to an educational intervention for nursing staff. NICU nurses were informed about the importance of developmentally supportive positioning and the use of the IPAT. Post-intervention IPAT scores were then examined to evaluate the effectiveness of positioning education on the IPAT. Results: Following the educational intervention total IPAT scores were significantly improved. Improvement was also seen in the neck and shoulder body areas. Discussion: An educational intervention for developmentally supportive positioning and use of the Infant Positioning Assessment Tool can significantly improve positioning practices among NICU nurses.

Included in

Nursing Commons