The effect of an educational intervention on improving acute care nurses' level of knowledge in providing high quality end-of-life care to patients with less than 2 weeks to live
Stetzner, Katelyn Jo.
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Although nurses, above all other health professionals, are in a prime position to positively impact the quality of end-of-life care (EOLC) individuals receive, numerous studies have identified that they are educationally unprepared to do so (White & Coyne, 2011). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of an educational intervention on improving acute care nurses' level of knowledge regarding high quality EOLC to adult patients who are preactively and actively dying (i.e., deemed to have less than 2 weeks to live). Because "EOLC in the acute setting frequently takes place over a very short time frame when death is recognizably imminent" (Bloomer et al., 2011, p. 167), the researcher focused on the preactive and active phases of dying and the nursing interventions necessary to provide quality EOLC to patients during their final days and hours of life. The researcher explored the acute care nurses' level of EOLC knowledge, implemented an evidence-based educational intervention using the ELNEC-Core curriculum (COH & AACN, 2000), and determined whether the educational intervention successfully improved the nurses' level of knowledge in providing quality EOLC to adult patients with less than 2 weeks to live. A one-group pretest--posttest research design was implemented to test the hypothesis: Upon completion of the educational intervention the acute care nurse participants will achieve significantly higher scores on the posttest than they do on the pretest. Thirty-one acute care RNs and LPNs voluntarily participated in the study. Data were collected and stored by the software vendor in such a way that data were available only in the aggregate form for each item. Therefore, no direct pretest--posttest comparisons could be made for the individual participants. As a result, descriptive analyses were utilized to examine and report the findings of the participants' aggregate pretest and posttest results. As hypothesized, participants' answered more questions correctly on the posttest than they did on the pretest. Whereas such results could not be directly attributed to the educational intervention, the findings suggest that the participants, as a whole, possessed a higher level of EOL knowledge at the completion of the study.