BACKGROUND: Inappropriate sedation assessment can jeopardize patient comfort and safety. Therefore, nurses' abilities in assessing and managing sedation are vital for effective care of mechanically ventilated patients.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This study assessed nurses' sedation scoring and management abilities as primary outcomes following educational interventions. Nurses' perceived self-confidence and barriers to effective sedation management were assessed as secondary outcomes.
DESIGN: A post-test-only quasi-experimental design was used. Data were collected at 3 and 9 months post-intervention.
METHODS: A total of 66 nurses from a 14-bed intensive care unit of a Malaysian teaching hospital participated. The educational interventions included theoretical sessions, hands-on sedation assessment practice using the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale, and a brief sedation assessment tool. Nurses' sedation scoring and management abilities and perceived self-confidence level were assessed at both time points using self-administered questionnaires with case scenarios. Sedation assessment and management barriers were assessed once at 9 months post-intervention.
RESULTS: Median scores for overall accurate sedation scoring (9 months: 4·00; 3 months: 2·00, p = 0·0001) and overall sedation management (9 months: 14·0; 3 months: 7·0, p = 0·0001) were significantly higher at 9 months compared to 3 months post-intervention. There were no significant differences in the perceived self-confidence level for rating sedation level. Overall perceived barrier scores were low (M = 27·78, SD = 6·26, possible range = 11·0-55·0). Patient conditions (M = 3·68, SD = 1·13) and nurses' workload (M = 3·54, SD = 0·95) were the greatest barriers to effective sedation assessment and management. Demographic variables did not affect sedation scoring or management abilities.
CONCLUSIONS: Positive changes in nurses' sedation assessment and management abilities were observed, indicating that adequate hands-on clinical practice following educational interventions can improve nurses' knowledge and skills.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Educational initiatives are necessary to improve ICU practice, particularly in ICUs with inexperienced nurses.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.