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Keywords:

  • best practice;
  • prophylaxis;
  • risk assessment;
  • rural nurse;
  • venous thromboembolism

It is estimated that about 2000 people die as a result of venous thromboembolism (VTE) each year, with a further 30 000 being hospitalized. Prophylaxis significantly reduces VTE morbidity and mortality, and thus represents a real long-term health-care benefit. The aim of this study was twofold: (i) to assess the current level of compliance to VTE risk assessment and prophylaxis best practice guidelines within an Australian rural hospital; and (ii) to determine the effectiveness of nurse education on that compliance. VTE compliance information was obtained from auditing patient notes for a 3-month period prior to nurse education and was repeated after the education. Nurse knowledge of VTE risk assessment and prophylaxis use was also measured. Both compliance with and knowledge of best practice VTE risk assessment and prophylaxis increased following nurse education. Although the sample size was relatively small, this study has shown nurse education to be effective at increasing VTE compliance and awareness within an Australian rural hospital. This relatively inexpensive and simple intervention bears consideration and could lead to reductions in the morbidity and mortality associated with VTE, as well as reduction in associated health-care costs.