JOURNAL ARTICLE

Paediatric fever management: continuing education for clinical nurses

Anne M Walsh, Helen E Edwards, Mary D Courtney, Jenny E Wilson, Sarah J Monaghan
Nurse Education Today 2006, 26 (1): 71-7
16182412

PURPOSE: This study examined the influence of level of practice, additional paediatric education and length of paediatric and current experience on nurses' knowledge of and beliefs about fever and fever management.

METHOD: Fifty-one nurses from medical wards in an Australian metropolitan paediatric hospital completed a self-report descriptive survey.

RESULTS: Knowledge of fever management was mediocre (Mean 12.4, SD 2.18 on 20 items). Nurses practicing at a higher level and those with between one and four years paediatric or current experience were more knowledgeable than novices or more experienced nurses. Negative beliefs that would impact nursing practice were identified. Interestingly, beliefs about fever, antipyretic use in fever management and febrile seizures were similar; they were not influenced by nurses' knowledge, experience, education or level of practice.

CONCLUSIONS: Paediatric nurses are not expert fever managers. Knowledge deficits and negative attitudes influence their practice irrespective of additional paediatric education, paediatric or current experience or level of practice. Continuing education is therefore needed for all paediatric nurses to ensure the latest clear evidence available in the literature for best practice in fever management is applied.

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