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continuing education, delirium, nurse clinicians, nursing



  1. Speed, Genna MSN, RN, ACCNS-AG, CCRN


Background: Delirium is a frequently encountered condition in critically ill patients that has significant clinical impacts. Associated costs for patients impacted by delirium are higher, including a 39% higher intensive care unit (ICU) cost and 31% higher hospital costs, yet delirium goes unnoticed in up to 72% of cases. If ICU nurses are not aware of risk factors and presentation of delirium, the condition may go unrecognized, allowing for development of negative sequelae.


Objectives: The purpose of this research study was to examine delirium knowledge levels of ICU nurses at a single level I trauma hospital both before and after a tailored educational intervention.


Methods: A preintervention/postintervention research study design in conjunction with a tailored educational intervention was utilized. Preintervention/postintervention delirium knowledge testing was completed through the use of the Nurses' Knowledge of Delirium Questionnaire.


Results: The results indicated a significant difference in preintervention scores (mean, 74.65 [SD, 8.68]) and postintervention scores (mean, 84.95 [SD, 5.73]); t23 = -5.256, P = .000. These results suggest that an educational intervention does have an impact on ICU nurses' knowledge level of delirium.


Conclusions: If ICU nurses are not aware of the fluctuating nature of delirium and its varied clinical presentations, they cannot be expected to consistently identify its development when providing care. Through educational activities, it is possible to increase team member knowledge levels, potentially resulting in increased identification of delirium and a reduction in negative sequelae.