Management of acute gastroenteritis in young children, a project to increase nurses' knowledge of evidence-based guidelines

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Schmidt, Fran
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Studies have shown that acute gastroenteritis represents a common yet serious problem for children, as it is the leading cause of childhood mortality worldwide. Essential aims of treatment of viral gastroenteritis are to manage the fluid losses and dehydration that is the principal cause of serious morbidity and mortality. Research findings strongly support that practitioners follow expert recommendations for management of gastroenteritis. Findings suggest that physicians' practices differ importantly from practice guidelines as there is continued under-utilization of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) in treating this population in developed countries. This discrepancy has been repeatedly ascribed to practitioners' lack of knowledge of these guidelines. The overall purpose of this practicum project was to increase the knowledge of current evidence-based guidelines among nurses' who work with young children in a primary care setting. The specific aims for this project were to: (a) identify nurses' perceptions about barriers to the optimal management of gastroenteritis, (b) determine the nurses' knowledge of the guidelines prior to the intervention, and (c) evaluate the effectiveness of the educational session in improving nurses' knowledge of the guidelines. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)