Implementation of an Evidence-Based Order Set to Impact Initial Antibiotic Time Intervals in Adult Febrile Neutropenia

Janie T. Best

Karen Frith

Faye Anderson

Carla Gene Rapp

Lisa Rioux

Christina Ciccarello

neutropenia, chemotherapy, evidence-based nursing, evidence-based practice, antibiotics
ONF 2011, 38(6), 661-668. DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.661-668

Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate the impact of the implementation of a standardized order set on the time interval in initiation of antibiotic therapy for adult patients with cancer and febrile neutropenia. Design: Practice change.

Setting: The oncology unit of an urban hospital in the south-eastern United States.

Sample: Adult patients with cancer and febrile neutropenia admitted six months prior to (n = 30) or during the three months following (n = 23) implementation of the order set.

Methods: Literature regarding febrile neutropenia, use of order sets, and change process was reviewed. In addition, a retrospective and concurrent chart review was conducted for adult patients admitted with febrile neutropenia. Time intervals were analyzed using SPSS® software, version 18.

Main Research Variables: Initial antibiotic times, order-set use, and length of stay.

Findings: An overall reduction in time intervals for initiation of antibiotic therapy was observed for presentation (t = 2.25; degrees of freedom [df] = 37; p = 0.031) and order (t = 2.67; df = 40.17; p = 0.012) to antibiotic administration, with an order-set usage of 31% in the inpatient unit and 71% in the emergency department.

Conclusions: Findings in the presence of low order-set usage suggest that staff education and placement of the order-set antibiotics in unit-based medication dispensing machines helped reduce time intervals for initial antibiotic therapy.

Implications for Nursing: The use of an evidence-based approach to nursing care is essential to achieving the best outcomes for patients with febrile neutropenia. Incorporation of current evidence into an order set to guide clinical practice and comprehensive nurse, pharmacy, and physician education are needed for the successful implementation of evidence-based practice changes.

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