Fever is frequently encountered by neuroscience nurses in patients with neurological insults and often results in worsened patient outcomes when compared with similar patients who do not have fever. Best practices in fever management are then essential to optimizing patient outcomes. Yet the topic of best nursing practices for fever management is largely ignored in the clinical and research literature, which can complicate the achievement of best practices. A national survey to gauge fever management practices and decision making by neuroscience nurses was administered to members of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses. Results of the questionnaire portion of the survey were previously published. This report presents a content analysis of the responses of neuroscience nurses to the open-ended-question portion of the survey (n = 106), which revealed a dichotomous primary focus on nursing- or patient-related issues. In addition, respondents described barriers and issues in the provision of fever-management care to neuroscience patients. In order to advance national best practices for fever management in neurologically vulnerable patients, further work needs to be conducted, particularly with regard to necessary continuing education for staff, facilitation of interdisciplinary communication, and development of patient care protocols. Neuroscience nurses are in an excellent position to provide leadership in these areas.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Hilaire J. Thompson, PhD BC APRN CNRN, firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a Claire M. Fagin Fellow, John A. Hartford Foundation, National Institutes of Health Roadmap Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Scholar, and assistant professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Catherine J. Kirkness, PhD RN, is a research associate professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Pamela H. Mitchell, PhD RN CNRN FAAN FAHA, is a Soule Distinguished Professor and associate dean for research at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.