Graduate School of Nursing Dissertations

Publication Date


Document Type

Dissertation, Doctoral


Graduate School of Nursing

Dissertation Committee Chair

Nancy Morris


Education, Nursing, Feasibility Studies, Infusions, Intravenous, Medication Errors, Patient Safety, Students, Nursing

Subject Categories

Medical Education | Nursing


Background: Medication errors continue to be one of the most prevalent problems in healthcare related to patient safety, often resulting in injury or death, with higher incidences of error occurring with intravenous medications. The purpose of this study was to explore the use of deliberate practice (DP) with second-degree nursing students in developing and maintaining fundamental intravenous medication management practices required for safe practice.

Method: This was a feasibility study using a two-arm, single-blind, randomized controlled trial design. Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development model was used to explore the use of a DP teaching intervention to achieve competency in skills associated with safe IV medication management. A convenience sample of first-year, first-semester nursing students enrolled in an accelerated graduate program (N = 32) were invited to participate; 19 enrolled, and 12 completed the study. Students (n = 12) received three 30- minute one-on-one practice sessions at 2-week intervals with an expert nurse (the intervention group focused on IV skills and the control group on skills unrelated to IVs). Pre- and post-intervention instruments tested participants’ confidence with IV management and safety skills. The primary outcome was their ability to safely administer and monitor IV medications during a 20-minute videotaped medication administration scenario.

Results: Low recruitment (19 of 32) and high attrition (37%) were observed. Participants completing the study (5 in the intervention group and 7 in the control group) reported that the time required to attend the sessions was not burdensome (91.7%); time allotted was adequate (100%); 100% reported positive experience; 91.7% found the DP sessions essential to learning. Change in confidence scores for IV skills were not significant (P = 0.210), but were higher in the intervention group (2.97–4.14 = 1.50 change) compared to the control group (2.71–3.77 = 1.04 change). Significant differences were found in overall medication administration skills between the control and intervention groups (t [-2.302], p = 0.044) in favor of the intervention group, particularly with medication preparation skills (p = 0.039). Overall raw scores were low in both groups; only 16–42 (26%–70%) of the total 60 steps required for safe practice were completed. Participants scored lowest in the evaluation phase, with all participants performing less than 50% of the 14 steps.

Conclusion: Even though participant satisfaction was high, significant attrition occurred. Students reported the DP sessions to be beneficial and they felt more confident in performing skills, but three 30-minute sessions (90 minutes) were not adequate to develop, maintain, or refine all the IV-management skills associated with safe medication practices. Determining the length and duration of DP sessions as well as comparing the efficacy of DP sessions between individual and group sessions with varying doses and frequencies is needed to advance our understanding of using DP within nursing education.



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