Addressing Emergency Department Response to Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy

Date of Publication


Project Team

Rosemary Dale, EdD, APRN


Purpose. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDPs) are among the most common pregnancy complications in the United States and pose significant risks to maternal and fetal health. Recognition in all healthcare venues utilized by pregnant and postpartum individuals, such as Emergency Departments (ED), is essential to prompt intervention. Current guidelines recommend ED proficiency in recognition and response to maternal emergencies. This quality improvement project aimed to improve ED recognition and response to HDPs.

Methods. An educational toolkit was compiled based on published materials from nationally recognized HDP bundles and presented to ED registered nurses (RNs). The modules included basic HDP education, a succinct infographic, and introduction of evidence-based algorithms that align with the hospital’s obstetric unit. A Likert-type survey was used to quantify the success of project aims using identical pre- and post-intervention surveys and short answer questions.

Findings. Total scores increased across all participants (n=8). The surveys represented a substantial increase in participants' perceived knowledge and confidence. Qualitative answers confirmed necessity for education on obstetric care and feedback for future implementation.

Conclusions. The findings indicate early success of HDP educational toolkits in healthcare venues outside obstetrics. This project implementation highlighted the importance of flexible education strategies tailored to the ED setting. The time-intensive nature of the intervention presented limitations in scalability. In addition, further research is needed to assess long-term patient outcomes. Continued efforts to enhance ED HDP response and streamline education are essential for mitigating the significant maternal and fetal morbidity associated with HDPs in emergency care settings.

Document Type