Evaluation of endotracheal-suctioning practices of critical-care nurses – An observational correlation study

Miia Jansson, Tero Ala-Kokko, Pekka Ylipalosaari, Helvi Kyngäs


Background: Endotracheal-suctioning (ETS) is a procedure that may constitute a risk factor for ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) by increasing microbial colonization of the lower airway. Unsafe ETS practices have been observed worldwide during recent years. Because of adverse reactions, practioners need to take all necessary precautions to ensure patient safety and a high quality of nursing care. The aim of the present study was to evaluate critical-care nurses’ performance in relation to current recommendations in their daily practice prior to, during and post ETS events.

Methods: A structured, non-participatory, observational study (n=40) was conducted using a 25-item best-practice information sheet to assess critical-care nurses’ ETS practices in a mixed medical-surgical intensive-care unit. One-
sample- and independent-samples t-tests were used to compare critical-care nurses’ ETS performance against current recommendations within different ICU experience groups.

Results: The quality of observed ETS practices was significantly lower than the required quality of care (p<0.001). The most significant discrepancies were observed in ETS practices related to infection-control practices.

Conclusion: Critical-care nurses are currently not following current ETS recommendations. Significant discrepancies, which may constitute a risk factor for VAP by increasing microbial colonization of the lower airway, were identified. Unsafe ETS practices may jeopardize patient safety, and thus the quality of nursing care. Educational interventions, clinical guidelines and adequate support need to be provided to critical-care nurses to assess and improve their professional capabilities and current practice. Regular auditing and prompt feedback would be beneficial.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v3n7p99

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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