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The Effectiveness of a Staff Education Program on the Use of Continuous EEG With Patients in Neuroscience Intensive Care Units

Seiler, Lisa; Fields, Jennifer; Peach, Elizabeth; Zwerin, Suzanne; Savage, Christine

JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE NURSING: April 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 2 - p E1–E5
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e3182478c7c

ABSTRACT Approximately a third of patients in neuroscience intensive care units (ICUs) experience subclinical seizures and, as a result, are at higher risk for poor outcomes. The use of continuous electroencephalography (cEEG) monitoring can help nurses detect seizure activity and initiate early prevention. Nurse competency in the use of cEEG is important to facilitate effective bedside monitoring. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a staff educational program aimed at improving the knowledge of nurses in the use of cEEG monitoring in adults. A quasi-experimental pretest/posttest 1-group design was utilized. Neuroscience ICU registered nurses, whose experience ranged from 2 months to 24 years, participated in the study. Participants completed a pretest on seizure knowledge and the use of cEEG monitoring. Participants received a 4-hour educational session on the use of cEEG monitoring. Immediately after the program and again 1 month later, they completed a posttest. Test scores improved significantly from pretest to the first posttest (t = −15.093, p < .001). Although there was a slight decline in the mean score from the posttest to the 1-month follow-up, posttest scores were significantly better than the pretest score (t = −12.42, df = 44, p < .001). Whereas years of experience correlated positively to the pretest score, after the intervention, no such correlation was evident. The results demonstrated that an educational program improved the competency of nurses in the use of cEEG with adult patients in a neuroscience ICU and that this knowledge was sustained over time. Further research is needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of this intervention in other settings.

In this article, the authors describe an educational program designed to enhance the direct-care nurse’s ability to use cEEG (continuous electroencephalography) effectively. The program demonstrated sustained improvement of both knowledge and competency related to cEEG.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Lisa Seiler, RN BSN, at She is a staff nurse at the NSICU, University Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.

Jennifer Fields, RN BSN, is a staff nurse at the NSICU, University Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.

Elizabeth Peach, RN BSN, is a staff nurse at the Neuroradiology Department, University Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.

Suzanne Zwerin, RN BSN, is a staff nurse at the NSICU, University Hospital, Cincinnati, OH.

Christine Savage, RN PhD CARN, is the chair of the Public Health Department, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD.

No funding was received for this project, and the authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses