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P011: Performance of emergency department nurses in evaluating a simulated patient with alcohol withdrawal syndrome following an education curriculum

  • B. Borgundvaag (a1), C. Thompson (a1), S. McLeod (a1), S. Perelman (a1) and S. Lee (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: The optimal management of emergency department (ED) patients with alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) includes a symptom driven approach with scheduled reassessments using a standardized scoring system (Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol-Revised; CIWA-Ar) and treatments according to symptom severity. The subjective nature of the CIWA-Ar, and lack of standardized competency-based education related to alcohol withdrawal results in widely variable treatment. The objective of this study was to perform a summative evaluation of clinical staff during the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) of a simulated patient (SP) with AWS. Methods: The AWS education curriculum was completed by all staff nurses in our ED (mandatory for full-time, optional to part-time staff). It was based on a real clinical scenario depicting moderate alcohol withdrawal and portrayed by a single SP. Prior to the OSCE, participants attended a seminar orienting them to the simulation. Each participant was asked to do a complete assessment of the SP, and graded for completeness on 37 individual components of history/physical exam, including the 10 domains of the CIWA-Ar. Results: 74 participants completed the educational curriculum over 8 weeks. At least 9/10 domains of the CIWA-Ar assessment were completed by 65 (88%) of participants, and 28 (38%) correctly assessed at least 80% of all summative evaluation components. 63 (85%) participants correctly identified the need for treatment of withdrawal symptoms. Only 13 (18%) participant assessments exactly matched our exact target CIWA-Ar score of 15, however 61% were within 2 points on the CIWA-Ar scale. In only 4 (5%) instances would a participant have inappropriately rated AWS severity below the treatment threshold. 62/72 (86%) participants rated the SP tremor as 2-4 (intended tremor =3). Clinical features most often overlooked were history of other addictions (25 participants, 33%) and history of liver disease (15 participants, 20%). Conclusion: The majority of participants in this OSCE correctly assessed the important elements in the assessment of AWS, and diagnosed the SP as having moderate alcohol withdrawal. Thus our educational intervention resulted in 85% of participants properly identifying the severity of AWS, and developing an appropriate treatment strategy. The impact of this curriculum on actual patient treatment requires further evaluation.

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