Date of Award


Degree Type

Evidence-Based Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Julie M. Brandy


Illegal and often fatal infant abandonment is a pervasive public health crisis. Safe Haven Laws (SHLs) help to prevent illegal infant abandonment by allowing specific professionals, including nurses, to accept unharmed newborns within statutorily defined parameters. SHLs have existed for nearly two decades, yet many healthcare workers are not knowledgeable about these laws: this implies that initial efforts to educate healthcare workers about SHLs have been ineffective. Continuing education supports lifelong learning which is a basic tenet of nursing practice. The purpose of this evidence-based practice (EBP) project was to teach nurses about SHLs through evidence-based continuing education. Literature firmly supported continuing education as an essential modality for dissemination of information. Evidence used to substantiate implementation included level I evidence through level V evidence as defined by the Johns Hopkins Nursing EBP model. Exchange theory, literature related to both continuing education and SHLs, and the Diffusion of Innovation model for EBP implementation all underpinned the clinical question: For nurses at a large Chicago-based medical center, does evidence-based continuing education, as compared to no education, affect knowledge of SHLs over one month? Participants included emergency department nurses at a large medical center in downtown Chicago. A pre-test, a post-test immediately following the intervention, and a post-test given one month after the intervention were used to evaluate the effect of education on nurse knowledge of SHLs. The mean score of the 12-point quiz improved from 6.15 on the pre-test to 11.28 on the post-test immediately following the educational intervention, representing an increase of 84.31%. The mean score of the pre-test was 6.15 and it improved to 10.33 on the post-test given approximately one month after the educational intervention, indicating an increase of 68.80%. Scores between the two post-tests decreased from 11.28 to 10.33, demonstrating a decrease of only 8.42%.The McNemar test was used to compare the scores of the pre-test with the scores of the post-test given immediately following the educational intervention. The results indicated that 75% of questions had a statistically significant improvement in responses. The Cochran’s Q test was applied to compare scores among all three tests. The results indicated that 50% of the questions had a significant improvement in responses. It is recommended that evidence-based continuing education be used to teach healthcare professionals about SHLs. These results will be applied to a statewide initiative aimed at educating healthcare workers in Illinois about SHLs.