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Robyn Gaffney, RN

WellStar Kennestone

Attention to trending issues and a talent for research led nurse Robyn Gaffney to find a “sweet” solution to helping babies in WellStar Kennestone’s NICU with hypoglycemia.

Marie Black, one of Gaffney’s co-workers who nominated Robyn says, “Robyn and members of the nursing team were noticing a spike in the admissions of hypoglycemic babies into the NICU. The nursing team started trending these babies and concluded that although there were some common denominators such as diabetic mothers, there were also many babies who did not have specific risk factors for a diagnosis of hypoglycemia.”

Current practices were somewhat invasive and caused disruptions in successful breastfeeding and maternal bonding.

Gaffney took it upon herself to do some research to see if there was a method that could help these babies without interfering with bonding and breastfeeding.

What she discovered was the use of dextrose gel to treat hypoglycemia. She presented her findings to the NICU leadership and medical teams.

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The lead Neonatologist requested an implementation of dextrose gel as a practice and Gaffney worked with multiple hospital departments in order to implement the process for this practice.

Black says, “The use of dextrose gel began in June of 2017 and has been very successful in treating hypoglycemia in our newborns. According to Robyn’s detailed data abstraction and surveillance, 300 babies at Kennestone received the treatment in either Labor and Delivery or Mother-Baby between June and December 2017. Most of these babies only required 1 administration of the 3 potential doses according to the protocol. Of these 300 babies who received the gel, 264 of these babies were able to stay on postpartum with their families which not only increased patient satisfaction but these babies benefitted from successful breastfeeding and better quality outcomes.”

Gaffney finds her nomination to be humbling but she says, “My second response would be proud. (It is) humbling because the dextrose gel protocol represents a body of work done by a team of dedicated and innovative professionals working towards improving care and outcomes for newborns. Work on this multi-hospital protocol has involved physicians, pharmacists, lactation consultants, leadership, IT and the front line nursing staff from the Labor/Delivery and Mother/Baby. (I am) Proud because the nomination represents recognition of work has had a positive impact across the spectrum of care for newborns.”

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