Date of this Version


Document Type

DNP Project


Postoperative ileus (POI) is a preventable but potentially fatal complication that affects approximately 10% to 30% of patients who undergo major abdominal surgery. Despite the use of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols, tertiary care facilities continue to struggle with this complication affecting not only patient outcomes but also healthcare cost and revenue generation. Although hospitals often offer general education to staff nurses throughout the year, the topics are mainly designed to target national accreditation requirements. This leaves a knowledge gap on specific skills and interventions that could greatly improve health outcomes. To address this issue, a quality improvement project to increase nurse knowledge of POI was implemented in an acute tertiary care facility in the Miami area. A total of 43 registered nurses working in two inpatient step-down units were included in this project. The results were analyzed and a significant increase in mean scores for knowledge and confidence before and after the education intervention were noted. Overall, there was a 34% increase in mean confidence self-assessment score and a 109% increase in knowledge mean scores when compared to baseline. Although a power analysis was not performed, a paired one-tailed t-test was executed to determine statistical significance showing a result of p < 0.0001. The data shows that nurse education is effective at enhancing knowledge and confidence when identifying, preventing, and treating POI. Based on the evidence and the results of this project, future education should be implemented and the material incorporated into onboarding curriculums for surgical units.