Rapid Cycle Deliberate Practice: Educating Providers on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Academic Article


  • Background: Educating nurse practitioner students in caring for infants with opioid withdrawal, or neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), is essential in addressing the expanding opiate crisis. Clinicians often express a lack of knowledge of how to safely manage these infants, difficulty navigating family dynamics, and frustration overcoming perceived biases. High-fidelity simulation, in conjunction with rapid cycle deliberate practice (RCDP), provides an opportunity to enhance knowledge and skills necessary for treating NAS using a systematic approach. The purpose of this learning activity is to demonstrate the effectiveness of simulation using RCDP in educating learners caring for infants in opiate withdrawal, supporting the mother–infant dyad, and enhancing patient safety. Method: The scenario included a simulated mother, high-fidelity mannequin infant, and a simulated nurse. Student learners engaged in four phases of learning: pre-brief and learner preparation, RCDP learning and practice, immersive experience, and group debriefing with experience survey. Results: Twenty learners participated in the simulation experience. Postsimulation evaluations were positive with learners expressing enhanced organization and confidence in caring for infants with NAS along with heightened empathy for the mother–infant dyad. Learners agreed they were more comfortable in including the family in the treatment of NAS with 95% reporting confidence in communicating with the family. Conclusion: RCDP is an effective method for building knowledge and skills necessary for providers caring for infants with NAS. Simulation using RCDP provides the learners a method of isolating the learning experience into small elements to build progressive mastery of concepts. The use of RCDP within the simulation process supports nurse practitioners in changing preconceived concepts of care and reinforces the need to include family in the care process.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bordelon C; Smith T; Watts P; Wood T; Fogger S
  • Start Page

  • 12
  • End Page

  • 18
  • Volume

  • 44