Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Malnutrition among hospitalized patients is prevalent and associated with adverse outcomes. At the health care facility for which this quality improvement (QI) initiative was developed, patients were not consistently fed within the nationally recommended 48 hours. The purpose of this project was to facilitate the early initiation of enteral feedings to prevent malnutrition in a vulnerable patient group by development of an evidence-based enteral feeding policy, algorithm, and nursing education module. The find, organize, clarify, understand, select, plan, do, check, and act model provided a systematic approach for development of the project. Validation of the QI initiative was through the use of Likert scale which was completed by 2 nurses and a head dietician. The content validity index average was 1.0 for the QI initiative products (policy, algorithm, educational module). Ten team members completed a summative evaluation of the educational module and presentation using a 7 item, Likert scale. Basic descriptive analyses were employed to analyze the data, revealing broad support for the module and the DNP student's leadership. A recommendation was made to conduct an audit using a formal software program to quantify the number of patients who were not being fed within the time frame of 48 hours. Implementing an evidence-based enteral feeding protocol can be a significant intervention that produces better patient outcomes.The implications for social change in this project relates to improvements within the critical care environment.