Nursing Education and Bloodless Alternatives

Monday, 12 July 2010: 2:45 PM

Hsin Hsin Lin, PhD
Department of Nursing, Meiho Institute of Technology, Pingdong, Taiwan
Yan-Der Hsuuw, PhD
Department of Life Science, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: understand the importance of educating nurse students regarding bloodless alternatives.

Learning Objective 2: identify the need to incorporate effective and safe bloodless alternatives into nursing curriculum.

Purpose:The awareness of the dangers associated with blood transfusions, moving a fast increasing number of patients towards bloodless alternatives, is gaining momentum across the world. However, are nurses well informed? The issue involved is simple but crucial‑‑-these new techniques are not formally introduced in the mainstream of nursing education therefore how will nurse students be prepared for it? The purpose of this study is to offer students the opportunity to learn these new operative techniques and share their learning feedback with nurse educators worldwide.

Methods:A teaching program about non-blood alternatives was then introduced to 850 undergraduate nursing students (age ranged from 16 to 22 years old) in Taiwan over three years. Real cases reports were presented. Techniques such as erythropoietin, hemodilution, intraoperative blood salvage, blood substitutes, and careful operative skills, as well as patient’s rights and ethics issues were highlighted. A total of 750 valid questionnaires were analyzed (response rate =80%).

Results: 90% of the students urge the need to introduce bloodless alternatives methods into the mainstream education system. They express the importance to educate the public about these new techniques and feel the need to know more about the safety of non-blood alternatives. Reflecting on their clinical placement experiences, they state that they remember having seen some operation consent forms where a single line “non-blood surgery if needed” was written at the bottom of the form that patients could tick if they wished to refuse blood transfusions. However, they have never taught or made aware of it so as to help patients to make a choice.

Conclusion: As technology and skills of surgeons and anesthesia team make bloodless surgery possible, nurses must be educated to help patients to make informed choices about medical management of their condition, and to care for patients who refuse blood transfusions.