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Evaluation of hospital nurses' perceived knowledge and practices of venous thromboembolism assessment and prevention


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a preventable cause of hospital death. Bedside registered nurses (RNs) are a key group that can be the first to recognize risks of patients in acute care settings. The purpose of this study was to identify bedside hospital RNs' perceived knowledge of VTE, their assessment practices, their self-efficacy in conducting VTE prevention care, and their perceived barriers to performing VTE risk assessment. An anonymous web-based survey on VTE risk assessment and prevention was conducted with RNs who provided direct patient care at two hospitals. RNs who were not directly involved in bedside patient care such as managers and educators were excluded. A total of 221 RNs completed the survey. Most participants rated their overall knowledge of VTE risk assessment between "good" (44%) and "fair" (28%). VTE assessment frequencies performed by participants varied widely. Participants reported high confidence in their ability to educate patients and families about VTE symptoms, prevention, and treatments. Participants were least confident in their own ability to conduct a thorough VTE risk assessment. Greater self-reported VTE knowledge was associated with greater VTE assessment frequency and self-efficacy for VTE preventive care. The most common perceived barriers in performing VTE risk assessment were lack of knowledge (21%) and lack of time (21%). The findings demonstrate a substantial need for focused education about VTE prevention for hospital nurses and support for hospital systems to monitor VTE care. Despite the Joint Commission emphasis on VTE risk assessment in all hospitalized patients, there remains a gap between current, evidence-based recommendations for VTE prevention and reported nursing practices.

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