Introduction Enteral nutrition is a pivotal strategy for nutrition in ICUs (Fulbrook et al. 2007). Nurses are keys to assess patients’ nutritional status, detect feeding-intolerance, and curtail the prospect of complications (Persenius et al., 2006; Bourgault et al., 2007).
This study aimed to assess ICU nurses’ perception of their ability to assess critically ill patients’ nutritional status using the evidence-based guidelines.
Methods A cross sectional descriptive design was employed. A total of 190 ICU nurses from two health care sectors in Jordan participated in the study and completed a structured questionnaire prepared to assess nurses’ perception of patients’ nutritional status.
Results Nurses showed greater levels of responsibility for ‘preventing complications’ and ‘evaluation’ than ‘assessment’ and ‘identifying goals’. Tube position is still confirmed via unreliable measures such as air bubbling technique (mean 4.00, SD 1.14). The mean for measuring Gastric Residual Volume was above the mid-point (3.70, SD 1.33). However, there was inconsistency in recognising the limit, threshold and frequency of measuring this volume. Diarrhoea is the most frequent complication of enteral nutrition (mean 3.36, SD 1.34) followed by abdominal pain, tube dislodgment, weight loss and uncontrolled blood sugar. Nurses perceived that the incidences of complications are less likely to occur in the presence of evidence-based guidelines than absence (rho= 0.73, df= 251, p < 0.001).
Conclusion Nurses show more concerns about the outcomes of enteral feeding instead of the preliminary assessment. Measuring GRV and confirming tube placement are still deficient and require further attention. EBP is acknowledged by nurses where undertaking such protocols is emphasised.
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Disclosure of Interest None Declared.