Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Marilyn S. Murphy


During hospitalization, sleep can be interrupted or even elusive. It has been established that quality sleep is essential in neural repair. Previous research has indicated that many nurses are unaware of the impact of sleep disturbance on brain injury recovery and do not understand how to promote sleep in the neurorehabilitation setting. The purpose of this project was to determine whether educational intervention would influence nurses' knowledge and attitudes toward sleep. Benner's (2001) novice to expert theory provided a framework for the project. With the collaboration of a neuropsychologist, this study produced a sleep knowledge and attitudes instrument. Pulmonary sleep specialists, rehabilitation physicians, and neuropsychologists who were experts in the treatment of sleep disorders and brain injury validated the instrument. Following instrument validation, 19 rehabilitation nurses completed the instrument prior to receiving sleep hygiene education. Immediately after education, a posttest was administered. Pretest and posttest data were compared via Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. Results indicated a statistically significant increase nurses' knowledge (p = .015) and attitudes (p = .028) toward sleep. These findings support the use of didactic methods of sleep hygiene education for nurses. Providing nurses with sleep knowledge and improving their attitudes toward sleep may shift nursing focus to sleep as an activity rather than inactivity, and it has the potential to improve quality of patient care by empowering nurses to implement good sleep hygiene practices on inpatient units. Additional research is indicated to determine whether the increase in knowledge and improvement in attitudes will be sustained and ultimately affect patient sleep outcomes.

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