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An Evidence-Based Practice Approach to End-of-Life Nursing Education in Intensive Care Units

Shifrin, Megan M. DNP, RN, ACNP-BC

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: August 2016 - Volume 18 - Issue 4 - p 342–348
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000254
Feature Articles

Despite increasing medical advances, intensive care unit registered nurses frequently care for patients at the end of life. Registered nurses have identified insufficient education as a major contributor to inadequate communication, symptom recognition, and symptom management in this population. The purpose of the project was to increase knowledge regarding evidence-based practices in management related to end-of-life care. Project implementation occurred in 6 intensive care units at a 1019-bed academic, tertiary care hospital and included providing registered nurses with a 3.5-hour classroom-based educational session on end-of-life nursing management. Before the educational sessions, participants (n = 46) completed a demographic sheet and a multiple-choice pretest reflective of foundational intensive care unit end-of-life nursing knowledge. After the educational session, the same test was administered as a posttest. A statistically significant change (P < .001) existed between the mean pretest scores (79.4%) and mean posttest scores (96.7%) of participants. In addition, 100% of participants met the external benchmark of an aggregated mean posttest score of 80% or higher. Future research should focus on assessing specific areas of end-of-life nursing knowledge deficit, determining optimal educational content delivery methods, and evaluating the clinical impact of increasing knowledge on patient symptom recognition and management.

Megan M. Shifrin, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC, is assistant professor of nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and assistant in critical care anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Address correspondence to Megan M. Shifrin, DNP, RN, ACNP-BC, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, 411 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37240 (

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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© 2016 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.