Perioperative Nurses May Lack Knowledge of Hypothermia

More guidelines and education for nurses required
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Perioperative nurses may not have sufficient education or be guided by adequate practice guidelines to identify and manage hypothermia, according to a report published in the April issue of the AORN Journal.

Josephine Hegarty, Ph.D., of University College Cork in Ireland, and colleagues conducted a quantitative study of 130 perioperative nurses who were asked about their knowledge of definitions of hypothermia and normothermia. Most of the nurses had more than four years' perioperative experience and were well-educated.

The lack of a standard definition of hypothermia and normothermia was identified as a reason why many respondents were unsure about correctly identifying the conditions, and the majority used a definition of normothermia (36°C and 37°C) that is not concurrent with hypothermia prevention guidelines, the investigators found. The authors suggest that perioperative nurses and other practitioners should have easy access to clinical guidelines for inadvertent perioperative hypothermia prevention and management.

"Nurse managers should be cognizant of the need to organize regular educational sessions about hypothermia for staff members," the authors write. "The detrimental consequences associated with hypothermia cannot be underestimated. Educational sessions would allow practitioners to keep up to date with best research evidence and allow for the exchange of clinical expertise."

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