Critical care nurses' knowledge of the care and use of central venous lines
The primary aim of this cross-sectional research project was to evaluate critical care nurses' knowledge of the care and use of central venous lines. A secondary purpose was to determine if their knowledge was related to sociodemographic characteristics.
A true -or -false and multiple-choice questionnaire was developed by the researcher, subjected to review by a panel of experts and pilot -tested. It was examined for reliability, item difficulty and discrimination in order to improve the validity of the instrument prior to the research study. Sociodemographic questions were included to examine the influence of variables such as critical care nursing experience, educational background, job position and location of practice on the nurses' knowledge of the care and use of central venous lines. T -tests and analysis of
variance were used to test hypotheses related to differences in mean scores among sociodemographic subgroups and a predetermined score that indicated sufficient knowledge of the participants in the study.
The final 30 -item questionnaire was mailed to six hundred members of the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses. A total of 250 nurses (42%) completed the questionnaire. The mean knowledge score of all the participants was 23.4 or 78% items correct, with a standard deviation of 3.41. The range of correct scores was 14 to 30. Significantly low mean scores were found in all subgroups except for nurses in managerial or educational positions, nurses working in a large rural area and nurses with a Master's degree or higher level of education. Nurses who completed a hospital -based critical care program had significantly higher scores than those who did not. There was a significant difference in scores according to the years of critical care experience with increasing scores as the years of experience increased.
The results suggest that critical care nurses have a general knowledge deficit of central venous lines. Educational programs, hospital -based critical care programs and the use of preceptors are methods that can be used to improve the knowledge base of nurses working in critical care areas. This study may be replicated on a larger scale to improve the validity and reliability of the questionnaire and to validate its findings.