Nurse-initiated defibrillation? : reality or rhetoric
Evidence indicates that hospital nurse-initiated defibrillation improves survival following cardiac arrest. Accordingly, hospitals are changing their policies to permit nurses to initiate defibrillation. However, if nurse-initiated defibrillation is to be successful implemented, nurses' beliefs about this practice need to be understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore the attitudes of rural nurses towards defibrillation to assist in the development of nurse-initiated defibrillation programmes. This cross-sectional study examined the defibrillation beliefs of registered nurses in rural areas. A proportionally stratified sample of registered nurses (n = 436) were drawn from 51 rural acute care hospitals in Australia. Most (n = 224; 52%) of the participants were not permitted to initiate defibrillation. A one-way between-groups multivariate analysis of variance showed that nurses who were permitted to initiate defibrillation held stronger positive beliefs towards defibrillation than nurses not permitted (10,410) = 13.88, p < 0.001. Nurses not permitted were more concerned about the challenge of learning rhythms, incurring litigation and harming the patient or themselves. If it is accepted that defibrillation will become an essential part of all nurses' roles, these beliefs should be explored and integrated into educational programmes as inappropriate beliefs about defibrillation may impede implementation and skills development.