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Br J Nurs. 2009 Jun 25-Jul 8;18(12):730-4.

Improved oxygen prescribing using a nurse-facilitated reminder.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Glenfield Hosptial, Leicester.


Poor oxygen prescribing and administration is well documented despite junior doctor education and oxygen prescription charts. This prescribing behaviour can be harmful to patients. This study examines whether oxygen prescribing and the appropriateness of oxygen therapy would be increased by medical admissions unit (MAU) nurse education and a nurse-mediated reminder strategy to junior medical staff. A quality improvement study was carried out involving a prospective single centre audit, educational intervention to MAU nurses, and implementation of a nurse-facilitated oxygen prescribing reminder strategy with prospective re-audit. The study took place in a 26-bed MAU in a 678-bed teaching hospital with a lung centre serving a population of 540,000. Fifty-one patients were involved in the initial and re-audits and two nurses were involved in the audit team. A team of 10 acute medical nurses were involved in facilitating the appropriate administration and prescription of oxygen by liaison with junior medical staff. Oxygen prescription and appropriateness of oxygen therapy were measured. Results showed an improvement in oxygen prescribing from 0% to 49% (p < 0.0001). Non-significant improvements in appropriate oxygen prescription (pre- versus post-intervention) overall (70.6% versus 76.5%, p = 0.65); more marked reduction in type 1 respiratory failure errors (18.4% versus 3.8%, p = 0.13) and less marked reduction in type 2 respiratory failure errors (61.3% versus 44.0%, p = 0.49). In conclusion, significant and quick improvements in oxygen prescribing behaviour are achievable through a nurse-facilitated reminder strategy with reduction in inappropriate oxygen prescribing. These strategies are relevant to other ward settings and aspects of patient care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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