Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Mary Verklan


Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious complication in critically ill patients; it can prolong intubation, increase intensive care unit and hospital length of stay, and increase mortality to twice the level of patients who do not develop VAP. The purpose of this project was to determine the effect of an evidence-based educational program to prevent VAP on ICU nurses' actual and documented practices for preventing VAP. The research questions addressed whether an educational program focused on VAP prevention will affect critical care nurses' compliance with a VAP prevention bundle, and whether the education will result in maintenance of a rate of zero cases of VAP per 1000 ventilator days. Data will be collected from all ICU patients intubated more than 24 hours and will include: (a) the frequency of oral care, (b) head-of-bed elevation of 30-45 degrees, (c) daily sedation vacation, (d) assessment of readiness for extubation, and (e) whether prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis and for peptic ulcer disease was ordered. Observations of care will verify the accuracy of nurses' documentation in the medical record. A survey will assess nurse satisfaction with the educational program. Paired t tests will be used to compare the compliance of the nurses with each element of oral care and hygiene practices before and after the intervention. Analysis of variance will be calculated on the mean duration of ventilation, mean ICU and hospital length of stay, mortality before discharge, patient acuity, and rates of VAP per 1000 ventilator days. The goal of this project is a compliance rate of 90% or greater with the elements of the VAP prevention bundle, leading to decreased ventilator and ICU days, decreased morbidity, decreased mortality, and lower emotional distress. Positive social change will be accomplished through an immediate improvement in the lives of VAP-prone individuals.

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