Term of Award

Summer 1989

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Joyce P. Murray

Committee Member 1

Charlene M. Hanson

Committee Member 2

Martha A. Coleman

Abstract

Low birth weight is a leading cause of infant mortality nationally. From 1976-1987, Coffee County was one of the counties in Georgia that lead the state in the area of infant mortality. Currently the Infant Mortality Rate in Coffee County is 19.1%. The purpose of this study was to describe, by a retrospective research design, factors contributing to the incidence of low-birth-weight in Coffee County. This study provided information to enhance the nursing care of high-risk prenatal women and to assist in the delivery of healthy infants. The role of the Community Health Nurse in relation .to the problem is examined. The research population was comprised of women who were admitted to the Obstetrical Department of Coffee Regional Hospital during 1988. This population was comprised of women who delivered low-birth-weight infants and a comparison group of women who delivered normal-birth-weight infants. A random sample of 201 charts was selected to produce a sample of 104 low-birth-weight and 97 normal-birth-weight deliveries. The strongest predictor variable for low-birth-weight was the number of prenatal visits. Also maternal age was significantly correlated as a predictor variable. Data from this sample did not correspond with the national average for race as a predictor variable of low birth weight. The advanced prepared Community Health Nurse plays a major role in the health of a community. The nurse focuses primarily on the health of population groups. This aspect distinguishes it from other kinds of nursing and makes it a specialty within the nursing profession. One major area of community health is infant mortality.

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