Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Monitoring in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Changing provider comfort and confidence
Purpose: The purpose of this quality improvement (QI) project was to assess provider (MD and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP)) comfort and confidence with Near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) monitoring on Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients when provided with an educational teaching session.
Background and Significance: NIRS data can be used in conjunction with standard vital sign monitoring to help clinicians understand blood flow and metabolic demands of organ systems, particularly cerebral, renal, and mesenteric blood flow patterns. A NICU unit in the northwestern US adopted NIRS use on their patients in 2008, however, NIRS monitoring usage decreased over the past 5 years, citing a lack of continued education and comfort interpreting and managing NIRS monitored patients. One patient was monitored with NIRS in the year prior to the QI project.
Methods: A 5 point Likert-Type survey was designed to examine provider comfort and confidence using and interpreting NIRS on NICU patients. No Croanbach’s alpha value exists for the survey as it was purposefully designed for the QI project. An educational presentation on the use and interpretation of NIRS on NICU patients was created and delivered during a formal provider staff meeting. Pre and Post education surveys were distributed electronically to participants and were presented 1 week prior to educational session and 1 month after educational session. IBM SPSS version 23 was used for descriptive statistics, paired t tests, and Wilcoxon test. Significance set to p<0.05.
Results: In total, 18 providers (N=18) were surveyed, and 13 paired survey results (n=13) were received (8 MD and 5 NNP). Paired-samples t tests were calculated to compare the mean total score (TS) for pre/post comfort and pre/post confidence. This was a significant improvement for both comfort (t(11) = -3.13, p=0.010) and confidence (t(11) = -3.37, p=0.006). Wilcoxon test showed a significant increase in the times a provider managed a patient with NIRS (z=-2.762, p=0.006). The number NIRS monitored patients increased from one in the previous year to 15 patients in the 5 months of data tracking, a clinically significant increase.
Conclusions: Providing educational session on previously utilized clinical applications can improve providers comfort and confidence and influence their usage in clinical practice. Future continuing education sessions could be designed for different clinical applications in order to keep clinicians abreast of the current evidenced based applications of advanced clinical monitors.