Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major

Nursing, BSN

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Alyssa O'Brien

Second Advisor

Kerry Nolte


Background: There is a rising prominence of infants being born and diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in the United States. In recent years, a new non-pharmacological method of managing these infants called Eat, Sleep, Console (ESC) has emerged. While there is mounting evidence demonstrating the positive outcomes for infants treated with this method, there is limited research regarding nurses’ perceptions of this new intervention. This study seeks to understand the nurse’s experience and role during caring for infants with NAS utilizing the ESC method in comparison to the past practices.

Methods: This study used a qualitative descriptive design to conduct interviews with perinatal nurses in a local community hospital to determine their perceptions regarding their role and experiences in managing infants with NAS and utilizing ESC.

Results: Eight nurses participated in the study, representing a neonatal intensive care unit and maternity unit. Three major themes resulted from analysis: (1) let babies be babies; (2) implementation barriers; and (3) nonjudgmental, family-centered care. Minor themes supported each of the major themes.

Discussion: While there are many benefits to using ESC for managing NAS, it can be difficult to implement due to various barriers at the parent, nurse, and facility level. More education is needed in nursing schools and medical facilities about substance use disorder, NAS, ESC, and how to have difficult conversations about substance use with families. Additionally, caring for an NAS infant can be emotionally distressing and requires support for nurses and families to prevent burnout. Finally, family-centered care and involvement is a key component of successful implementation of ESC to ensure positive patient outcomes.