Nurse Educator M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Holland, Ann


Background: Intensive Care Unit (ICU) acquired delirium is a significant practice issue for nurses. Delirium in ICU patients can be perceived inaccurately by nurses as an expected part of patients’ ICU stay. Increased morbidity and mortality is highly correlated with increased symptoms of delirium during the ICU stay. Nurses are in the position to notice subtle changes in patients and intervene in a timely manner to avert negative outcomes resulting from delirium. Purpose: The aim of this research is to investigate nurses’ knowledge of assessment tools, and discover how effectively nurses are using the tools and implementing interventions to prevent ICU delirium. Results: Eighteen articles were analyzed for this literature review. The Humanistic Nursing Theory was chosen as the lens to guide this research because of it’s focus on the nurse-atient relationship and the environment in which nursing takes place. The CAM-ICU tool and the ISDCS tools are both validated for accurately assessing delirium. Interventions for delirium are carried out when providers acknowledge nurses’ assessment. A gap exists in the research that would show how consistently delirium assessment is implemented in the ICU setting and how often education should be enforced to improve accuracy and compliance. Conclusion: Nurses are performing more delirium assessment with minimal training, and collaboration from providers. Ongoing education is needed to ensure consistency in use and proper application of evidence based tools for delirium assessments and interventions to prevent delirium. Implications for Research and Practice: Implementing current evidence-based practice into the clinical environment requires persistent encouragement from clinical nurse educators, and collaboration from the health care team. Ongoing education to change the mindset of the healthcare team regarding ICU delirium will produce consistency in evidence-based practice. Assessment for delirium improves quality of care, and is a cost-effective way within the nursing scope of practice to improve patients’ outcomes. Further research to investigate consistent and proper use of assessment tools in the Intensive Care setting, and the frequency at which ongoing education of nurses and other ICU care team members should be carried on will be beneficial.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse Educator

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Nursing Commons