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Southern African Journal of Critical Care (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2078-676X
Print version ISSN 1562-8264


ROUT, J  and  BRYSIEWICZ, P. Exploring the role of the ICU nurse in the antimicrobial stewardship team at a private hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. South. Afr. j. crit. care (Online) [online]. 2017, vol.33, n.2, pp.46-50. ISSN 2078-676X.

BACKGROUND. Care of the critically ill patient has become increasingly challenging, with a rising incidence of resistant pathogens resulting in the ineffectiveness of many antibiotics. Severe infection is associated with prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay, and increased morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) aims to prevent resistance and protect patients and the wider community by promoting correct antimicrobial use. The current AMS literature has failed to describe the role of the ICU nurse in this important initiative. OBJECTIVE. To explore the perceptions of AMS team members regarding the role of the ICU nurse in the AMS team. METHODS. Using a qualitative research approach, purposive sampling was used to identify participants in an ICU. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 participants, including ICU shift-leader nurses, nursing management, surgeons, anaesthetists, physicians, microbiologists and pharmacists. Data were analysed and categorised using content analysis. The study was conducted in a general ICU in the private healthcare sector in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. RESULTS. Participants representing various disciplines of the AMS team felt that the role of the ICU nurse within the team was an important part of the AMS programme. Four categories that emerged from the data are discussed: organisational, advocacy, clinical and collaborative roles. CONCLUSION. The role of the ICU nurse was found to be essential to the success of AMS in the ICU. These findings provide implications for practice, which, if recognised and supported by all healthcare stakeholders from ICU and hospital management, could improve AMS in this acute care area.

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