NWH: An Initiative to Improve Postpartum Discharge Education

An Initiative to Improve Postpartum Discharge Education



To evaluate an online POST-BIRTH Warning Signs (PBWS) project focused on improving nurses’ knowledge and how they teach individuals in the postpartum period about potential complications.


Quality improvement project with exploratory pretest/posttest.


Seventy hospitals with maternity services throughout the United States.


A sample of 2,363 registered nurses.


An online educational program with four surveys and a chart audit tool were used as evaluation measures.


There was an 11% increase in nurses’ knowledge after the online course intervention. A majority of nurses reported that they would improve how they educate patients and families about PBWS, that they would change their clinical practice based on what they learned, and that their facility implemented a protocol to educate patients about PBWS after the implementation of the course. The nurses’ reported confidence in their teaching increased 59% after implementation of the course.


The majority of maternal deaths in the United States occur during the postpartum period. Therefore, it is vital that nurses provide standardized and structured educational messaging when teaching individuals in the postpartum period about signs and symptoms of potential complications. This quality improvement project demonstrated that the PBWS online education course was associated with an increase in nurses’ knowledge and confidence when teaching about potential complications that can arise during the postpartum period.