Nutritional Nursing Care : Nurses’ interactions with the patient, the team and the organization

University dissertation from Karlstad : Karlstads universitet

Abstract: The overall aim of the thesis was to gain a deeper understanding of nutritional nursing care in municipal care and county council care, with specific focus on enteral nutrition (EN) in intensive care.Quantitative and qualitative methods were used. Telephone interviews regarding assessment of the nutritional status of patients were carried out with special medical nurses (CNs) (n = 14) in municipalities in one county and first line managers (CNs) (n = 27) in one county council. Registered nurses (RNs) in municipalities (n = 74) and county councils (n = 57) answered a questionnaire about nutritional assessment and documentation (I). RNs (n = 44) at three different intensive care units answered a questionnaire about responsibility, knowledge, documentation and nursing interventions regarding EN. Observations (n = 40) on nursing care interventions for patients with EN were carried out (II). RNs (n = 8), enrolled nurses (n = 4) (III) and patients (n = 14) (IV) were interviewed and nutritional nursing care was observed (III-IV) at an intensive care unit.The results showed that assessment of nutritional status was not performed on all patients, according to RNs/CNs. Malnourished patients were estimated to occur to a varied extent. Sixty-six percent of RNs/CNs answered that there were no guidelines for nutritional care and 13% that they did not know if there were any. RNs saw the VIPS model as a guide in nursing care, but also as an obstacle to information exchange (I). A majority of RNs answered that there were guidelines for EN. There were differences between the RNs’ opinions about their responsibility, knowledge and documentation. Deviations from recommended nursing care interventions occurred (II). The developed substantive theory of nurses (RNs and enrolled nurses) concerns and strategies of nutritional nursing care for patients with EN, includes the core category ”to have and to hold nutritional control – balancing between individual care and routine care” and the categories ”knowing the patient”, ”facilitating the patients’ involvement”, ”being a nurse in the team”, ”having professional confidence” and ”having a supportive organization”. In order for RNs and enrolled nurses to have a sense of control over the patients’ care in relation to nutrition, a balance between routine care and individual care was required (III). The developed substantive theory regarding the patients’ experiences of nutritional care includes the core category ”grasping nutrition during the recovery process”.  The core category is reflected in, and dependent on, the categories ”facing nutritional changes”, ”making sense of the nutritional situation” and ”being involved with nutritional care”. The patients alternated emotionally between worry, fear and failure, and relief and hope. The patients experienced a turning point and felt an improvement in their condition when their appetite returned, when the stomach and gut were functioning and when the feeding tube was removed (IV).The conclusion is that quality and safety in relation to nutritional nursing care is dependent on the interactions between the nurse and patient, between the nurse and the team, and the nurse and the organization.

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