Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

Document Type

DNP Project

Project Team Faculty Member

Mary E. Zerlan, DNP, CRNA, APN

Project Team Faculty Member

Kelley McGuire, PhD, RN


opioids, postpartum, birth, labor, women, pain


In spite of the alarming opioid abuse epidemic, the number of opioids prescribed to women who give birth has been overlooked and underregulated. In a large metropolitan hospital that has over 3,500 deliveries a year, this problem was identified through first-hand encounter and data collection from an electronic medical record. Women in the postpartum period were prescribed an unnecessary number of opioids upon discharge. The goal of this project was to create guidelines that would decrease opioid use and increase the overall well-being of postpartum women. Guidelines were based off of type of delivery and women were not allotted more than 20, 5mg Oxycodone at discharge. Once implemented, the providers were surveyed based off their experience with the guidelines and perceived outcomes regarding their patient’s pain control. Approximately 81% of survey respondents believe the new guidelines will provide adequate pain control for patient’s after discharge. This change has significantly decreased the number of opioids prescribed from this unit. These guidelines will continue to improve patient care and develop positive long-term outcomes as they are related to opioid use. Further need for evaluating patient satisfaction is desirable and will lead to possible alterations in future guidelines.

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