Evaluation of Nurses Practices about Enteral Nutrition in Intensive Care Unit

Introduction: Enteral nutrition (EN), in the area of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), is an important nursing skill, which requires specialized knowledge by nurses. Purpose: To investigate the knowledge and practices of nurses regarding ED in the Intensive Care Unit. Material and Method: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study with a convenience sample of 70 ICU nurses from a tertiary hospital in Athens. Data collected during the period April- May 2016. Interviews conducted through the questionnaire of "Nursing Practices of Enteral Nutrition Questionnaire”. The analysis carried out with the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (IBM SPSS 20.0). Statistical significance was set at the level of p<0.05. Results: The sample consisted of 70 ICU nurses with mean age 38.1 ± 5.9 years, while 78.6% were women. 81.4% were aware of the guidelines regarding ED and 65.2% stated that there was a protocol in the ICU. In general practice, the most common indication for delayed commencement of EN was high gastric residual volume (85.9%). Regarding the management of intolerance, the flow of EN determined by the medical orders (83.1%). In terms of complication management, pulmonary aspiration assessed mainly using endotracheal tube aspiration (81.7%). Moreover, nurses who knew the guidelines, considered that the primary responsibility for the nutritional assessment lies on the medical team compared to those who did not know the guidelines (87.7% versus 61.5%, p = 0.039). Conclusions: It is proposed the implementation of continuing nursing education programs aiming to inform nurses about the new knowledge and to improve their practices concerning EN, thus increasing clinical benefits.