Improving paediatric nurses’ knowledge and attitudes in childhood fever management

Edwards, Helen E., Walsh, Anne M., Courtney, Mary D., Monaghan, Sarah L., Wilson, Jennifer E., & Young, Jeanine (2007) Improving paediatric nurses’ knowledge and attitudes in childhood fever management. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 57(3), pp. 257-269.

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SUMMARY STATEMENT What is already known about this topic • Paediatric nurses do not report expert knowledge about fever and evidence-based fever management practices • Negative and inconsistent attitudes toward fever, febrile convulsions and antipyretic use in fever management are consistently reported • Paediatric nurses’ inconsistent fever management practices have been reported for more than a decade

What this study adds • Theoretically based educational programmes are effective in improving knowledge about, and attitudes toward, everyday nursing practices • Increases in knowledge and attitudes achieved by the Peer Education Programme continued to increase up to four months post programme • Peer education and support facilitated educational information to reach those who did not participate in the programme

Aim This study evaluated the effectiveness of a Peer Education Programme (PEP) in positively impacting paediatric nurses’ evidence-based knowledge and attitudes toward fever management and the sustainability of significant changes. Background Paediatric nurses’ knowledge deficits and negative or inconsistent attitudes toward evidence-based fever management continue to be reported. Limited research explores educational interventions in this area.
Method A quasi-experiment was conducted. Data were collected August 2002 to March 2003 inclusive. The PEP was based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. Peer support and education were promoted as mechanisms for educating those unable to attend the four one hour sessions. Attendance at two sessions was considered sufficient to precipitate increases in knowledge and positive attitudes. Seventy-seven nurses were eligible to attend the PEP; 74.0% attended at least one session, 52% two or more.

Survey data were collected one month prior and one and four months post-PEP from 56.3% to 77.8% of eligible experimental and 40.9% to 51.6% of eligible control group nurses. Organisational groups, nurses employed in the two medical wards at two metropolitan paediatric hospitals, were allocated to experimental and control groups. Two-factor Univariate ANOVAs were conducted to explore between and within group differences and significant interactions were explored through pair-wise comparisons. Findings Interaction effects between group and time were found in overall knowledge (p=0.01), specifically knowledge of the physiology of fever (p=0.001), and attitudes toward evidence-based fever management (p=0.05). Additionally, experimental group nurses demonstrated significantly more knowledge of general fever management principles four months post-PEP than control group nurses (p=0.01), and with their own knowledge pre-PEP (p<0.001). Conclusions Findings demonstrate the PEP’s effectiveness in eliminating barriers to practice change, peers and setting influences. Increases in knowledge and positive attitudes post-PEP were maintained. Incorporation of peer support and education in the PEP supported information transfer to those not attending sessions.

Impact and interest:

16 citations in Scopus
10 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 6230
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Attitudes, Child Nursing, Nurse Education, Clinical Decision, Making, Evidence, based Practice, Experimental Design
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.04077.x
ISSN: 0309-2402
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PAEDIATRICS AND REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE (111400) > Paediatrics (111403)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Secondary (Acute Care) (111003)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at
Deposited On: 19 Feb 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:37

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