Aim This study examined the effect of an education intervention on emergency nurses’ decisions related to oxygen administration.
Method A controlled pre-test/post-test quasi-experimental design was used. The intervention was a written self directed learning package. Outcome measures were (i) factual knowledge measured using parallel form multiple choice questions (MCQs) and (ii) clinical decisions measured using parallel form MCQs, parallel form patient scenarios and clinical practice observation.
Results Eighty-eight nurses from 4 Melbourne EDs participated in the study (control group: n = 37 and experimental group: n = 51). Subgroups of nurses from the experimental group also participated in the patient scenarios (n = 20) and clinical practice observation (n = 10). Emergency nurses’ knowledge increased as a function of education. Both patient scenario data and clinical practice observation showed decreased selection of nasal cannulae, increased selection of air entrainment masks and a trend towards selection of higher oxygen flow rates following education.
Conclusions Evaluation of educational interventions in nursing should focus on identifying strategies that enhance learning in a clinical environment, are valid in terms of the clinical context and culture in which they are being used and most importantly, produce sustained improvements in actual clinical practice.