Original Research

Registered nurses’ knowledge and practice of preoperative fasting and medication administration

Justin C. King, Adele de Goede, Janet Bell
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2490 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v29i0.2490 | © 2024 Justin C. King, Adele de Goede, Janet Bell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 August 2023 | Published: 12 February 2024

About the author(s)

Justin C. King, Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Adele de Goede, Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Janet Bell, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Knowledge of fasting or Nil Per Os (NPO) guidelines is an essential component of nursing care in the preoperative period.

Aim: To describe registered nurses’ (RNs) knowledge and management of the preoperative NPO period.

Setting: Selected surgical wards in a tertiary hospital in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Methods: Quantitative descriptive, cross-sectional study utilising a structured questionnaire. The population consisted of RNs working in selected surgical wards. Convenience sampling was used and adequate knowledge was determined as ≥ 90%.

Results: The response rate was 100%. Of the 68 participants, 48 (70.6%) held a diploma and 20 (29.4%) held a degree as the highest academic qualification achieved. Sixty-one (89.7%) participants knew the correct reason for keeping patients NPO. Sixty-five (95.6%) knew the correct answer for the NPO time for solids while only 27 (39.7%) knew the correct answer for clear fluids. Only 30 (44.1%), 26 (38.2%) and 33 (48.5%) participants, respectively, answered the questions about oral analgesia, oral antibiotics and chronic medication administration during the NPO period correctly. Significantly more degree participants knew the correct answer for the fasting time for non-human milk (p = 0.005) and more diploma participants would administer chronic medication during the NPO period (p = 0.037).

Conclusion: Inadequate knowledge of NPO times for various fluids and unsatisfactory practice of medication administration for oral and chronic medication require attention.

Contribution: This study highlights the importance that ongoing education is needed to ensure that patients receive the most up-to-date evidence-based care during the NPO period.


Keywords

nursing knowledge; nil per os times; medication administration; tertiary hospital; South Africa.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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