First Advisor

Carol Wallman, DNP, APRN, NNP-BC


Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Number of Pages

104 pages



Neonatal early onset sepsis (EOS) remains one of the most common causes of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Neonates requiring evaluation and treatment for suspected EOS inconsistently receive antibiotics within one hour of decision to treat as recommended in the 2012 neonatal sepsis guidelines by the National Institutes for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). A mixed method quality improvement initiative was employed in a level three NICU, applying a standardized admission process to mitigate systems flaws impacting delay of first dose antibiotic. A nursing sepsis education module was provided, and the novel SAM admission prioritization tool was developed to guide neonatal NICU admission activities and teach nursing prioritization skills. Statistically significant improvement was achieved in the aggregate steps related to patient care activities (ppp=.009). Nursing knowledge related to antibiotic timing and prioritization skills improved (p=.038, pr=-.302, p=.017) and a moderate positive correlation between a desire for the SAM tool and use of the SAM tool postintervention (r=.441, p

Key words: neonate, early-onset sepsis, neonatal sepsis, late preterm infant, golden hour, quality improvement, DNP project, antibiotic stewardship, antibiotic timing, neonatal sepsis

Date of Award

Summer 2022

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

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Available for download on Wednesday, August 23, 2023