Knowledge and Recognition of SIRS and Sepsis among Pediatric Nurses
Alvin D. Jeffery, Karen Steffen Mutsch, and Lisa Knapp
Background: A large amount of research demonstrates the importance of key
interventions in reducing mortality rates of pediatric patients with sepsis
(Dellinger et al., 2008). Assessment and recognition of declining status must
occur for interventions to be initiated. Of health care practitioners, nurses typically
spend the most time with patients, and they must be knowledgeable in recognizing
the systemic inflammatory response syndrome and sepsis while also
being aware of the importance of prompt intervention. The literature does not discuss
pediatric nurses' knowledge of systemic inflammatory response syndrome
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge of acute and
critical care pediatric nurses of SIRS diagnostic criteria, sepsis guidelines, and
the importance of SIRS recognition.
Methods: This cross-sectional, quantitative, correlational descriptive study
included 242 acute and critical care pediatric nurses at a 490-bed urban pediatric
hospital. Participants completed an original questionnaire with face and content
validity regarding SIRS criteria, sepsis guidelines, priority interventions, and attitude
toward the importance of SIRS recognition.
Results: Findings demonstrated a significant knowledge deficit among participants
in several key areas of SIRS/sepsis recognition. The mean score was
60.8% ± 7.4%. Item analyses demonstrated nurses easily recognize septic shock
but have difficulty recognizing patients in earlier stages of the sepsis continuum.
Significant confusion was evident regarding the role of blood pressure and serum
lactic acid levels in diagnosing sepsis.
Conclusion: It is recommended that an educational intervention be created for
acute and critical care pediatric nurses to aid them in recognizing sepsis in its