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Nursing personnel's attitudes towards fever and antipyresis of adult patients: cross-sectional survey

Authors

  • Panagiotis Kiekkas PhD, RN,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece, Patras, Greece
    • Correspondence: Panagiotis Kiekkas, Assistant Professor, Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece, 76 Stratigou Konstantinopoulou Str., Aroi, Patras 263-31, Greece. Telephone: +30 2610 274789.

      E-mail: kiekkpan@otenet.gr

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  • Evangelos Konstantinou PhD, RN,

    Associate Professor in Nurse Anesthesia
    1. Nursing Department, National and Kapodistrian Athens University, Athens, Greece
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  • Kalliopi-Styliani Psychogiou RN,

    Nurse
    1. Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece, Patras, Greece
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  • Iliana Tsampoula RN,

    Nurse
    1. Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece, Patras, Greece
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  • Nikolaos Stefanopoulos RN, PhD,

    Assistant Professor
    1. Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece, Patras, Greece
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  • Nick Bakalis RN, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    1. Nursing Department, Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece, Patras, Greece
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Abstract

Aims and objectives

To investigate the attitudes of nurses caring for hospitalised adult patients towards fever and antipyresis and to identify the predictors of these attitudes.

Background

Fever is a host defence mechanism, whose harmful effects are limited to specific patients. Findings about antipyretic treatment have further challenged the need for routine or aggressive fever suppression. Unfortunately, nurses continue to be fever phobic, while their attitudes towards fever and antipyresis considerably affect antipyretic practice.

Design

Prospective, cross-sectional, multicentre survey.

Methods

A convenience sample of registered and assistant nurses employed in surgical/medical wards and intensive care units of nine Greek hospitals was enrolled. The developed questionnaire included 10 multiple-choice, knowledge-evaluating items about fever and antipyresis, 10 Likert-type attitude-evaluating items towards fever and 10 towards antipyresis. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify the predictors of attitudes towards fever and antipyresis.

Results

The attitudes of the 458 participants were found to be relatively positive towards both fever and antipyresis. Lower fever/antipyresis knowledge score predicted both negative attitude towards fever (= 0·001) and positive attitude towards antipyresis (< 0·001), while longer professional experience predicted positive attitude towards antipyresis (= 0·002).

Conclusions

Advancing nurses' evidence-based knowledge about fever and antipyresis is expected to limit their tendency to overtreat fever and favour fever care based on the assessment of actual patient demands.

Relevance to clinical practice

These findings highlight the need for continuing education programmes to eliminate fever phobia and improve nurses' competency for individualised fever care.

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