Methods used by critical care nurses to verify feeding tube placement in clinical practice

Annette Bourgault, Janie Heath, Vallire Hooper, Mary Lou Sole, Elizabeth G. NeSmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses practice alert on verification of feeding tube placement makes evidence-based practice recommendations to guide nursing management of adult patients with blindly inserted feeding tubes. Many bedside verification methods do not allow detection of improper positioning of a feeding tube within the gastrointestinal tract, thereby increasing aspiration risk. OBJECTIVES: To determine how the expected practices from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses practice alert were implemented by critical care nurses. METHODS: This study was part of a larger national, online survey that was completed by 370 critical care nurses. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: Seventy-eight percent of nurses used a variety of methods to verify initial placement of feeding tubes, although 14% were unaware that tube position should be confirmed every 4 hours. Despite the inaccuracy of auscultation methods, only 12% of nurses avoided this practice all of the time. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of expected clinical practices from this guideline varied. Nurses are encouraged to implement expected practices from this evidence-based, peer reviewed practice alert to minimize risk for patient harm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1-e7
JournalCritical care nurse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care

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