Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Scholarly Projects

Projects: SPU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Faculty Chair

Amy Howells

Faculty Reader

Carrie Fry

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Background and Significance: Sepsis and septic shock are the leading cause of death worldwide, and sepsis is the 10th cause of death in the United States (Deutschman et al., 2020; Rhodes et al., 2016; Serrano-Smith et al., 2016). Sepsis and septic shock are major healthcare problems and account for a significant financial burden on the American healthcare system (Downing et al., 2019a). Despite the multiple efforts to enhance sepsis recognition and management in hospital settings, higher rates of poor health outcomes associated with sepsis are still prevalent in medical-surgical units. Sepsis in patients in medical-surgical units often goes undiagnosed with delayed response and treatment (Rhodes et al., 2016; Schorr et al., 2016). Education to improve sepsis recognition and treatment is vital to enhancing sepsis survival rates. Continuous nursing education is central to bedside nurses recognizing signs and symptoms of health problems and providing prompt, safe, and effective nursing care.

Purpose statement: This project aimed to evaluate two educational methods to determine the most effective method for improving nurses' understanding of sepsis and prompt initiation of sepsis orders. An in-person sepsis training was provided to a cohort of acute care nurses. Pre- and post-intervention surveys were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the two educational modalities on nurses' understanding of sepsis and sepsis orders, prompt providers' alert, and initiation of sepsis workup and treatments.

Methods: This is a quality improvement and program evaluation project with a quantitative study method and quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design. The study goal was to determine if there is a difference between online and in-person education. Two methods of instruction, online and in-person, are independent variables; the dependent variables are knowledge acquisition and knowledge retention about sepsis among acute care nurses. Pre- and post-intervention surveys were used to assess the relationships between the variables.

Results/Outcomes: The project results were slightly better for in-person teaching on improving nurses' knowledge about sepsis and initiating sepsis orders. The project showed nurses' preference for learning through a combination of in-person and online educational strategies. In addition, participants expressed their interest in learning various other topics related to sepsis patient care management and recommended including simulations and annual refresher sessions.

Sustainability: Based on the project's outcomes, several recommendations were made to the sepsis committee. The proposals include incorporating sepsis education into nursing educational sessions. The sepsis training for acute care nurses should be provided through a combination of online and in-person education. In addition, teaching sessions should include case studies and annual refresher sessions for bedside nurses. Educational materials can be based on online modules, PowerPoint presentations, and visual aids created for this Doctor of Nursing Practice project.

Implications: In the post-Covid-19 changing healthcare environment, a focus on sepsis education will become fundamental in identifying and improving sepsis outcomes. This DNP project hopes to raise awareness of the importance of sepsis training among acute care nurses, as the early recognition and initiation of sepsis bundles and treatments can significantly improve sepsis survival outcomes for hospitalized patients.

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Digital Poster