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Knowledge of Intensive Care Nurses Regarding the Monitoring of Early Enteral Nutrition

Nomaxabiso Mildred Mooi


Early initiated and uninterrupted enteral nutrition is associated with the reduction of disease severity, diminished complications, decreased hospital length of stay, and favourably affects the outcomes of critically ill patients. The aim of the study was to assess the knowledge of early enteral nutrition (EEN) monitoring among intensive care unit (ICU) nurses in selected facilities in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. A quantitative, descriptive and cross-sectional design was followed. A total of 115 questionnaires were distributed and 70 were returned giving a response rate of 61 per cent. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences, version 21. The results showed that younger and less experienced nurses in private hospitals were more knowledgeable about EEN than the nurses in public hospitals. Regarding tolerance and adequacy monitoring, 60 per cent of the respondents reported the availability of enteral nutrition protocols while 40 per cent of the respondents disagreed that the protocols were available, which clearly stated a lack of efficient monitoring practices. Further, the varied knowledge reported by ICU nurses could be related to unclear protocols regarding procedures to be followed in monitoring tolerance and complications of EEN in the ICUs. Nurses, as primary care providers, should be equipped with the necessary knowledge to be able to advocate for EEN and to monitor the tolerance and adequacy of nutrient delivery.


enteral nutrition; early enteral nutrition; enteral nutrition tolerance monitoring; critically ill patient

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