Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



Ambulation is the single most important nursing intervention in the prevention of postoperative complications. It is also a key component in maintaining optimal patient outcomes. Current literature has revealed that when ambulation is initiated early there is a marked decrease in pain, length of hospital admission, and overall complication rates. However, even with this depth of evidence early postoperative ambulation on the two surgical units at a teaching hospital in Rhode Island, patient ambulation continues to be inconsistent. The purpose of this quality improvement project is to improve nursing knowledge regarding early ambulation after surgery for the prevention of post-operative complications. This project utilized a pretest, educational in-service intervention, and posttest design. Seventeen out of a possible 22 surgical nurses participated in this project (N= 17, 77%). The educational in-service sessions combined information from an extensive literature review in the form of a 10-minute Power Point presentation. Pre and post tests were made up of 5 knowledge-based and 5 opinion-based questions. The mean scores for the pretest were 74% while the mean scores for the posttest were 95.2%. There was a 35% increase in overall scores following the educational intervention. APRNs play a pivotal role in establishing and implementing educational programs. This project aimed to recognize a need for ongoing education about postoperative ambulation for the surgical unit nurses. Educational programs about postoperative ambulation and complication prevention should be routinely incorporated in future trainings to ensure improved nursing knowledge and patient outcomes.

Included in

Nursing Commons