Critically ill patients who are receiving mechanical ventilation (MV) often receive sedative medications; however, adverse outcomes such as delirium, increased ventilator time, and negative psychological effects have been associated with use of sedative medications. Published guidelines recommend sedative use to maintain “light levels” of patient sedation, but adherence to such protocols is low in actual practice.

Guttormson and colleagues surveyed critical care nurses to explore their practices and attitudes toward the administration of sedative medications. They found the following:

  • Most nurses agreed that sedative medications are necessary to decrease stress and discomfort related to MV.

  • Less than half stated that other nurses had an impact on their practice; more nurses were influenced by patients’ families.

  • Nurses at Magnet hospitals were less likely to agree that they intended to sedate all MV patients.

  • Nurses with CCRN certification or greater experience had a less...

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