Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


Zvart Onanian School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



Background: In the United States, there are approximately 1.7 million new cases of sepsis diagnosed every year accounting for approximately 270,000 deaths. Multiple screening tools exist to identify patients at risk for sepsis, with SIRS best serving the emergency room setting. Delays in treatment are associated with increased severity of illness in patients with sepsis. The emergency room serves as the first line in the prompt identification and treatment of patients with sepsis.

Purpose/Specific Aims: The purpose of this project was to increase early identification of sepsis by emergency nurses through an educational intervention focusing on improving general knowledge of sepsis and the application of a validated sepsis screening tool.

Methods: A pretest, educational intervention and posttest design was implemented with a retrospective analysis of pretest and posttest data.

Results: A total of 35 emergency nurses participated in this project. Results showed statistically significant increases in objective knowledge evaluation, self-reported confidence and knowledge regarding sepsis and guidelines. There was also a reported intention to utilize sepsis screening earlier in patient encounters from pretest to posttest.

Conclusion: Results from this project demonstrate increasing knowledge and confidence was effective in motivating emergency nurses to report a change to their future practice. Future research could include a chart review to evaluate how intention to change translates into practical changes. Less experienced nurses (less than 3 years of experience) showed the most improved performance in knowledge-based evaluations from pretest to posttest. Specialized education modules can serve as valuable tools to close the experience gap in some advanced specialties of nursing.

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