146907 Breastfeeding and clinician knowledge: An assessment among nurses, WIC staff, advanced practitioners, and dieticians

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 4:30 PM

Jessica Abrams, MPH , The Breastfeeding Center, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Stephanie Love, BS, MPH , The Breastfeeding Center, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Jana Chaudhuri, PhD , Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Anne Merewood, PhD, MPH, IBCLC , Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Background: Clinician knowledge on breastfeeding has been reported as lacking. Project HELP was an intervention to increase breastfeeding initiation in Massachusetts, by educating hospital and community-based clinicians with a 12 hour breastfeeding course.

Objective: To assess pre-existing breastfeeding knowledge among diverse clinicians attending an intensive breastfeeding course.

Methods: Teaching occurred between 2005 and 2006, at 4 institutions in 3 cities. Before each session, participants completed a pre-test to gauge pre-existing breastfeeding knowledge. Responses to 14 questions were used in this study; inclusion criteria were based on breadth of applicability and significance. Breastfeeding knowledge was analyzed using a Chi-Square test.

Results: 359 pretests were completed in 6 different teaching sessions. Clinicians were comprised of 287 nurses; 31 WIC personnel; 21 advanced practitioners (including physicians, educators, and nurse practitioners), and 20 dieticians. Overall by discipline, nurses scored highest, with 62% of correct answers, and advanced practitioners lowest, with 51% of correct answers. In total, 60% of all questions were answered correctly. The highest scores were on knowledge of Healthy People 2010 goals (87% correct), and the lowest, on knowledge of vitamin D recommendations for breastfeeding women from the American Academy of Pediatrics (13% correct). 48% of WIC staff knew maternal hepatitis C was not a contraindication to breastfeeding, compared to 23% of advanced practitioners. There were statistically significant differences among the proportion of correct answers between clinician groups.

Conclusion: Clinician knowledge of pertinent breastfeeding issues was poor. These findings suggest a need for further breastfeeding education, especially among advanced practitioners.

Learning Objectives:
1. The learner will be able to identify gaps in existing breastfeeding clinician knowledge. 2. The learner will obtain strategies for filling knowledge gaps in their current clinician breastfeeding education programs. 3. The learner will understand differences in knowledge between clinicians of differing disciplines

Keywords: Breast Feeding, Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.