Date of Graduation

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


Sepsis is a medical emergency that if left untreated can rapidly cause death for many patients due to effects that this systemic infection has on the human body. Millions of Americans nationwide are affected by sepsis on an annual basis. To reduce the number of patients who decline to sepsis in the hospital, efficient sepsis protocols must be effectively implemented throughout the hospital. Healthcare organizations must dedicate themselves to providing high quality patient care from the time of admission to discharge. This quality improvement project focused on improving early sepsis identification on inpatient units.

Nurse practices, knowledge, understanding related to sepsis was assessed, along with the hospital’s well-developed sepsis protocol. A microsystem assessment was performed on the inpatient units to identify the units' purpose, patient population, professionals, processes, and patterns (5 P's Assessment tool). The purpose included the “values-driven integrated healthcare delivery system in collaboration with those who share our values” (x). Patients involved adults of all ages over eighteen years old, a multidisciplinary approach was used when selecting professionals, patient processes included inpatient acute care patient care plans, and a multi-specialty approach of the microsystem was used to assess patterns.

A root cause analysis was conducted to assess if sepsis screenings were performed in a timely manner and to identify existing barriers to the hospital's current sepsis protocol. Furthermore, Clinical Nurse Leader students collaborated with the Director of Sepsis Committee and now Emergency Department to create a "Sepsis Screening Observation Checklist". A chart review audit was conducted using the "Sepsis Chart Screening Data" form, which allowed students to review electronic medical record (EMR) charts of 100 patients on five different nursing units. In addition, students also provided nurses with surveys to assess their knowledge of sepsis and the hospital's sepsis policies and protocols.

Results indicated that vital signs were reported in a timely manner 50% of the time, the greatest contributor to delayed treatment of sepsis were labs, and only 38% of nurses felt that adequate educational resources were provided to them regarding sepsis. It was also learned that a nurse's knowledge and understanding of sepsis is crucial when identifying septic patterns and performing the necessary interventions that will keep his or her patients safe.

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