The impact of surgical ward nurses practicing respiratory assessment on positive patient outcomes

Duff, Beverley, Gardner, Glenn E., & Barnes, Margaret (2007) The impact of surgical ward nurses practicing respiratory assessment on positive patient outcomes. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 24(4), pp. 52-56.

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Objective: A literature review to examine the incorporation of respiratory assessment into everyday surgical nursing practice; possible barriers to this; and the relationship to patient outcomes.

Primary argument: Escalating demands on intensive care beds have led to highly dependent patients being cared for in general surgical ward areas. This change in patient demographics has meant the knowledge and skills required of registered nurses in these areas has expanded exponentially. The literature supported the notion that postoperative monitoring of vital signs should include the fundamental assessment of respiratory rate; depth and rhythm; work of breathing; use of accessory muscles and symmetrical chest movement; as well as auscultation of lung fields using a stethoscope. Early intervention in response to changes in a patient's respiratory health status impacts positively on patient health outcomes. Substantial support exists for the contention that technologically adept nurses who also possess competent respiratory assessment skills make a difference to respiratory care.

Conclusions: Sub-clinical respiratory problems have been demonstrated to contribute to adverse events. There is a paucity of research knowledge as to whether respiratory education programs and associated inservice make a difference to nursing clinical practice. Similarly, the implications for associated respiratory educational needs are not well documented, nor has a research base been sufficiently developed to guide nursing practice. Further research has the potential to influence the future role and function of the registered nurse by determining the importance of respiratory education programs on post-operative patient outcomes.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 56466
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
ISSN: 0813-0531
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Deposited On: 17 Jan 2013 05:47
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2013 04:49

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