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Antibiotics, antimicrobials, nurse practitioner, resistance, stewardship



  1. Hamilton, Robert M. MS, FNP (Clinical Education Consultant)


Background: Antibiotic stewardship (ABS) is a set of strategies to optimize antimicrobial use while reducing antibiotic resistance, improving patient outcomes, and decreasing unnecessary costs. Nurse practitioners (NPs) play an essential role in health care education and represent a valuable potential resource for ABS efforts.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of NPs toward ABS.


Methods: A convenience sample of NPs attending the American Association of Nurse Practitioners annual conference was given a modified descriptive survey. Descriptive statistics were used to assess normality.


Results: A total of 194 NPs completed the questionnaire (88% female; 70% master's degree). Factors affecting the decisions of antibiotic prescriptions included patient condition (79%) and patient cost (58%). Nurse practitioners based their antibiotic decisions on the antibiogram (63%) in their setting, whereas 56% indicated they start with broad spectrum and tailor antibiotic choices after cultures are received. Nurse practitioners understood that inappropriate antibiotic use causes resistance (97%), harms the patient (97%), and optimum antibiotic use will reduce resistance (94%). Participants also recognized that strong knowledge of antibiotics was important (94%) and felt confident in using antibiotics (86%). However, 94% agreed that antibiotics are overused nationally, and only 62% thought antibiotics were overused in their setting.


Implications for practice: Nurse practitioners recognize that knowledge about antibiotics is important to their career and would like more education about antibiotics and feedback about their antibiotic choices. Finding effective ways to provide this education could change practice and improve antibiotic use.