Developing capacity to care for clients at risk for delirium and for acutely delirious clients

Sherida Ingram, Yolanda Babenko-Mould, Richard Booth


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to assess nurses’ (N = 56) knowledge and self-efficacy of: a) caring for clients experiencing delirium, and b) caring for clients at risk of developing delirium in a hospital setting. Nurses completed study instruments prior to and immediately after taking part in a clinical education session. Seven nurses participated in a follow-up interview to explore their experiences of applying knowledge from the education session to the practice setting.  Objectives of the education session included reviewing risks, signs, symptoms, standardized screening tools, and management strategies for clients at risk for or experiencing delirium in a hospital setting.  Nurses were found to have improved knowledge and self-efficacy, as to the recognition and management of delirium. The qualitative findings highlighted nurses’ rich experiences and revealed themes, namely, enhancing emotional intelligence, strengthening clinical judgment to enhance quality of care, and increasing competency for family care. This study demonstrates how continuing education in clinical practice can positively impact nursing knowledge, confidence, and application of knowledge into practice in efforts to decrease the prevalence of delirium.  As such, an investment in continuing professional development education for delirium recognition and management is proposed to be a strategy that can positively impact client care.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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