Chest drains are a common feature of patients admitted to acute respiratory or cardio-thoracic surgery care areas. Chest drains are either inserted intraoperatively or as part of the conservative management of a respiratory illness or thoracic injury. Anecdotally, there appears to be a lack of consensus among nurses on the major principles of chest drain management. Many decisions tend to be based on personal factors rather than sound clinical evidence. This inconsistency of treatment regimes, together with the lack of evidence-based nursing care, creates a general uncertainty regarding the care of patients with chest drains. This study aimed to identify the nurses' levels of knowledge with regard to chest drain management. The research objective of this study was to describe the nurses' levels of knowledge regarding the care of the patient with chest drains. The data were collected using survey method. The results of the study revealed deficits in knowledge in a select group of nurses. Several service-led options exist with regard to improving knowledge in this area, such as service study days as well as ward-based tutorials. However, in an era of increasing accountability together with the impetus for each nurse to provide evidence-based care, it is crucial for individual nurse responsibility in the pursuit of knowledge in this area. Nurses must be supported by local practice development and through personal portfolio use to identify gaps in knowledge and seek appropriate training and resources.
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