Nurse Perception of Empowerment and Patient Safety Advocate through Implementation of an Interdisciplinary Formulated VTE Protocol

Monday, July 11, 2011: 4:05 PM

Cynthia Blum, PhD, RN, CNE
Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Ruth McCaffrey, ND, ARNP-BC
Christine E Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

Learning Objective 1: Recognize nurse empowerment opportunities through the planning and implementation of an interdisciplinary patient prophylaxis for VTE

Learning Objective 2: Identify how interdisciplinary patient care measures encourage nurses to act as advocates for patient safety

Purpose: This is the third phase of a study that 1) used interdisciplinary research to educate nurses to VTE prevention, 2) measured changes in VTE rates post implementation of a VTE prevention protocol, and finally 3) explored the nurses’ perception of their role in this work. The purpose of the final phase of the study was to explore changes in nurse perception of self as a patient safety advocate, feelings of nurse empowerment, and nurse perception of VTE prevention as an expression of nurse caring.

Methods:  Six months after the implementation of interdisciplinary designed VTE prevention protocol, focus groups were conducted with nurses throughout the hospital. Data analysis revealed common themes with data saturation occurring quickly.

Results: Nurses expressed confidence with using the protocol and advocating for their patients. Concern was expressed in the area of communication with physicians and the need to understand mutual roles in patient safety related to VTE prevention. Nurses expressed feeling empowered by participating in the research process and using this as an opportunity to find their voice when advocating for patients. Initial concerns with stepping out of their comfort zone were replaced with feelings of satisfaction in identifying patients at risk and implementing preventative care. Additional possibilities to expand this project as well as other patient safety ideas were identified by nurses who expressed excitement with the tangible effects of patient care advocacy.

Conclusion: Nurses are eager to advocate for their patients and are willing to participate in research to improve patient outcomes. In addition to improved patient outcomes, nurses felt empowered in this role. In order to promote nursing research, sharing with nurses the outcomes of their work provides an opportunity for a “think tank” to further explore patient safety.