Background: Nurse-led (protocol-directed) ventilation weaning (NLVW) is utilized in adult intensive care and has shown to be safe and reduce ventilation times. Our paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) implemented a NLVW (and extubation) protocol in 2004, yet it was observed that some NLVW-trained nurses were not undertaking the role in practice. Aims: To explore PICU nurses' and doctors' perceptions of and barriers to NLVW on a UK PICU, with the aim of facilitating more NLVW on our PICU by reducing these barriers. Methods: A cross-sectional electronic survey was used to collect data from both nurse ventilation weaners and all medical staff and advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) on one PICU. Results: Our survey response rates were 90% (36/40) nursing and 54% (20/37) medical. The four top reasons cited for nurses not being able to wean by protocol were not being allocated to a 'weanable' patient, being in an in-charge or runner role, high clinical workload and a perceived lack of support from medical staff/ANPs. The restrictive nature of our protocol also emerged as a key issue by all staff. The medical survey revealed an overwhelming positive response to NLVW with 90% believing that experienced PICU nurses should be allowed to wean ventilation. In contrast to the nurses perceived lack of support or encouragement for NLVW, medical staff rated their encouragement for the nurses to undertake this role as high. Conclusions: NLVW is a complex process, and factors that impair or facilitate this process relate not only to the weaning protocol itself, but also organizational processes and structural factors in a PICU. Relevance to clinical practice: This paper highlights the complexities involved in instituting and establishing a nurse-led, protocol-driven ventilation weaning process within a PICU. Further, in depth research is required to examine both PICU nurses and doctors attitudes to NLVW both in the UK and across Europe.
- Advanced nursing roles
- Developing/Evaluating nursing roles
- Paediatric intensive/Critical care
- Weaning from mechanical ventilation
- Weaning protocols
- Weaning ventilation