Major Article| Volume 46, ISSUE 7, P737-742, July 2018

Integrating staff nurses in antibiotic stewardship: Opportunities and barriers


      • There has been a call for greater participation in antibiotic stewardship by the entire health care team, including nurses.
      • There are limited available data evaluating nursing engagement in stewardship activities.
      • Nurses are well positioned to be part of the solution to preserve and promote appropriate antibiotic use; however, efforts are needed to cultivate an environment where nurse contribution is actively sought.


      Nursing has been called for greater participation in antibiotic stewardship. Although many of the functions that are integral to successful stewardship are within the scope of bedside nurses, data evaluating nursing engagement in stewardship are limited. The objective of this study was to identify nurses' roles and confidence in engaging in stewardship practices by conducting a survey of pediatric staff nurses employed at a 354-bed freestanding children's hospital with a well-established prospective audit and feedback stewardship program.


      An investigator-developed online survey was used to assess 10 identified practices that fall within the responsibility of inpatient nurses and contribute to the stewardship process.


      One hundred and eighty nurses participated in the study. Nurses were highly confident assessing for an adverse drug reaction history, obtaining cultures prior to antibiotics, and participating in patient education. They were less confident in reviewing microbiology results to determine antibiotic appropriateness. Clinical practice and hospital culture influenced perceptions of the nursing role in stewardship. Reported barriers to stewarding included nurses not included in rounds, interdisciplinary power differentials, and nursing input not actively sought.


      Barriers to nurse engagement were identified and could be addressed by improving education in microbiology and principles of antibiotic use along with more consistent inclusion of nurses in bedside rounds while also cultivating an environment where nurse contribution is actively sought.

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