Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Sharon Barton

Committee Member

Vicki Hines-Martin

Author's Keywords

Necrotizing enterocolitis; NEC; premature infant; blood transfusions; premature gut; risk factors


Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastrointestinal emergency seen in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (Cleveland Clinic, 2015). NEC occurs most frequently in premature infants, accounting for approximately 60 to 80 percent of all cases (Singh et al., 2008). Mortality rates associated with NEC are estimated to be between 20 and 30 percent reaching upwards of 50 percent for patients requiring surgical intervention (Cleveland Clinic, 2015). There is an abundance of research surrounding the pathophysiology, potential causes, and protective factors related to NEC in the premature infant. Comparisons of various interventions such as: feeding practices and protocols, administration of packed red blood cells (PRBC) transfusions, temporal clustering of disease, and medication interactions have been thoroughly studied, however further research and evaluation is warranted in order to drive practice change. Infants who survive NEC often times have secondary issues that pose lifelong challenges, which require collaboration among multiple disciplines throughout the child’s lifetime. The initial signs and symptoms of NEC are most commonly observed and noted by the bedside nursing staff. Early identification of the signs and symptoms associated with the onset of NEC could potentially save an infant’s life from this devastating disease. It is the aim of this project to assess the NICU nurses’ knowledge level related to NEC, implement an educational experience to enhance the baseline knowledge level, with reassessment to evaluate if there was an increase in the knowledge level.

Included in

Nursing Commons