Training of acute confusion resource nurses: knowledge, perceived confidence, and role

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Gerontol Nurs

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of gerontological nursing

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


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End Page



Most nurses function as generalists; however, some function in "expert" roles based on informal training as Resource Nurses. Training usually focuses on assessment and management of a specific problem, with the goal of creating a readily available "expert" for every unit. The primary activity of the Resource Nurse is to provide expert care, education, and consultation for patients, families, and staff. The Iowa-Veterans Affairs Nursing Research Consortium (IVANRC) addressed the need to manage acutely confused/delirious clients by training staff nurse volunteers (N = 129) from all units of the four Iowa Veterans Affairs facilities to act as unit-based acute confusion Resource Nurses (ACRNs). A day-long workshop included didactic content addressing etiology and presentation of acute confusion (AC), use of the IVANRC protocol to assess for AC, and basic information on treatment and management of AC. The nurses also participated in an efficacy-based experiential learning program on AC assessment that involved demonstrating assessment of AC and role enactment practice exercises in which ACRNs practiced the assessment. A test of knowledge of AC and perceived level of confidence in assessing acutely confused patients was administered before and after completion of the program. Paired t tests comparing pre- and posttest scores showed that knowledge and confidence significantly increased for the nurses as a result of their participation in the educational program. Eighteen months later, a second program was conducted to update current ACRNs and train additional RNs to enact this role. Pre- and posttest scores were obtained, with paired t tests showing a significant increase in knowledge for the participants. Twenty-four (49%) of the second program attendees had attended the first program. These participants had significantly higher scores on the second program pretest than those participants who had not attended the previous program, indicating a retention of knowledge from the first program.


Confusion -- Nursing, Specialties, Nursing, Education, Nursing, Program Implementation, Evaluation Research, Seminars and Workshops, Staff Development, Questionnaires, Summated Rating Scaling, Pretest-Posttest Design, Paired T-Tests, Human

Published Article/Book Citation

Journal of gerontological nursing, 27:4 (2001) pp.34-40.

Recommended Citation

Journal of gerontological nursing. 2001 Apr;27(4):34-40.

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