Investigation of educational preparation and practice of ICU nurses in providing psychosocial support to families of ICU patients in two educational institutions in KZN .
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the educational shortcomings as evident in the literature reviewed with the intention of developing intervention/s thus contributing to practice, management, research and education. Background: Literature identifies many limitations in psychosocial support to families of patients in ICU. Little is known about the continued educational support the ICU nurses receive, formally and informally, to empower them to provide psychosocial support to the families of ICU patients. Methodology: The mixed method (concurrent triangulation design), was adopted using the survey for both the quantitative and qualitative approach. In-depth interviews, conversations, participative observation and the review of documents were used to collect data. Collection of data occurred simultaneously. A research instrument and guide were used to obtain quantitative and qualitative data respectively. Setting: Purposive sampling was used for the selection of hospitals within which the chosen ICUs were located and the educational institutions which provided the formal education and training to ICU nurses who worked in these hospitals. Participants: The qualitative arm involved interviews with a purposively selected sample of critical care nurses. Saturation was reached after nine interviews. A sample size of 34 (n=34) was used in the quantitative arm of the study. Convenience sample was used. Data Analysis: A mixed method approach was adopted. The study applied a thematic analysis according to the qualitative analysis described by Creswell 2007. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data and findings were presented in tables and graphs. The SPSS version 15.0 and STATA statistical package calculate non – parametric tests between selected study variables. Findings: The main themes derived from the qualitative analysis and confirmed by the statistical data demonstrated the manner in which continued education preparation was inadequate, the lack of specific clinical accompaniment, the lack of direction in terms of the philosophy of the units, ICU nurses being left on their own to obtain educational preparation. The results indicated that the lack of continued informal education at the unit and hospital level influenced the ICU nurses’ lack of implementation of psychosocial support to families of ICU patients. Statistical results and qualitative themes were converged and integrated during data analysis. Jamerson et al.’s (1996) model of family experience was used to contextualise the findings. Recommendations: Recommendations arising from the study were made for improvements in nursing practice, nursing management, nursing education and future nursing research. A practice checklist was formulated and expert opinion was sought using the Nominal Group Technique.