Intensive care nurses’ enteral nutrition knowledge

Julia Morphet, Angelique B Clarke, Melissa J Bloomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Nurses have an important role in the delivery and management of enteral nutrition in critically ill patients, to prevent iatrogenic malnutrition. It is not clear how nurses source enteral nutrition information.
This study aimed to explore Australian nurses' enteral nutrition knowledge and sources of information.
Data were collected from members of the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses in May 2014 using an online questionnaire. A combination of descriptive statistics and non-parametric analyses were undertaken to evaluate quantitative data. Content analysis was used to evaluate qualitative data.
359 responses were included in data analysis. All respondents were Registered Nurses with experience working in an Australian intensive care unit or high dependency unit. Most respondents reported their enteral nutrition knowledge was good (n=205, 60.1%) or excellent (n=35, 10.3%), but many lacked knowledge regarding the effect of malnutrition on patient outcomes. Dietitians and hospital protocols were the most valuable sources of enteral nutrition information, but were not consistently utilised.
Significant knowledge deficits in relation to enteral nutrition were identified. Dietitians were the preferred source of nurses' enteral nutrition information, however their limited availability impacted their efficacy as an information resource. Educational opportunities for nurses need to be improved to enable appropriate nutritional care in critically ill patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-74
Number of pages7
JournalIntensive & Critical Care Nursing
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • critical care
  • enteral nutrition
  • knowledge
  • nursing
  • resources

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