Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Mary-Rose Mueller, PhD, RN, Chairperson; Patricia A. Roth, EdD, RN; Ann M. Mayo, DNSc, RN


community hospitals, Medical-Surgical Nurses, nursing, patients, Pressure ulcers


Aim: The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and describe the level of understanding of PU development and prevention and perceptions of implementing PU prevention measures in nurses caring for patients in medical-surgical units. Method: The study was conducted in three (3) community hospitals within the same healthcare system using an Interpretive Description approach. Six (6) focus groups were conducted including thirty (30) participants. Findings: Participants described their knowledge of PU development and prevention as good and perceived continuing education as important in maintaining knowledge levels. Two (2) methods of identifying patients at risk for PU development were described: the Braden Scale and common patient diagnoses and conditions known to be associated with patients at risk for PU. Factors perceived to facilitate nurses' implementation of PU prevention measures included personal motivation, use of evidence-based treatment protocols, availability of expert consultants, and leadership support. Barriers to nurses' implementation of PU prevention measures perceived by study participants included the need to prioritize competing patient needs; lack of equipment and supplies; inadequate numbers and competency of staff; patient's lack of or inability to cooperate; and family involvement. Finally, regulatory mandates limiting payment for hospital acquired PU were perceived by participants as a necessary measure and positive motivator in their implementation of PU prevention measures. Implications: Additional studies are needed to further describe differences between medical versus surgical patients and settings, the influence of patient families on nurses' ability to provide care, and the influence of nurse leader and organizational culture on nurse motivation and performance. Organizations should implement evidence-based practice protocols, continue to provide ongoing education regarding PU prevention measures, and seriously consider adoption of the Wound Care Nurse role.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons