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  • Open Access

Evidence-based guidelines for preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia: results of a knowledge test among 3329 European intensive care nurses

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  • 2,
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  • 2 and
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Critical Care200812 (Suppl 2) :P436

  • Published:


  • Knowledge Test
  • Nurse Education
  • European Survey
  • Experienced Colleague
  • Prevention Recommendation


Although evidence-based guidelines for preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) are available, non-adherence by ICU clinicians seems common. This may, at least partly, be due to a lack of knowledge of the recommendations. Our study aimed to assess ICU nurses' knowledge of evidence-based VAP prevention recommendations.


A European survey by means of a validated and reliable multiple-choice questionnaire concerning nine evidence-based strategies for VAP prevention [1, 2]. Data gathered were gender, years of ICU experience (<1 years, 1–5 years, 6–10 years, >10 years), number of ICU beds (<8 beds, 8–15 beds, >15 beds), and whether they hold a specialized qualification in intensive care.


Between November 2006 and April 2007, 3,329 questionnaires were gathered from 22 European countries. The nurses' mean score was 4.06/9 (45.1%). No differences were found between males and females. Nurses with a longer ICU working experience scored significantly better than their less experienced colleagues (P < 0.001 for <1 year vs >1 year and for <5 years vs >5 years of experience; P = 0.001 for <10 years vs >10 years of experience). Respondents from larger ICUs obtained significantly lower scores than those from smaller units (P < 0.001 for <8 beds vs >8 beds and P = 0.048 for <15 beds vs >15 beds). Linear regression analysis demonstrated knowledge to be independently associated with years of ICU experience, and with the number of ICU beds (both P < 0.001).


European nurses' knowledge of VAP prevention guidelines is poor. We recommend including VAP prevention guidelines in the core nurse education curriculum and in continuing refresher nursing education programs.

Authors’ Affiliations

University College, Ghent, Belgium
University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
Joan XXIII University Hospital, Tarragona, Spain
University College London Hospitals Trust, London, UK


  1. Labeau S, et al.: Critical care nurses' knowledge of evidence-based guidelines for preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia: development and validation of an evaluation questionnaire. Am J Crit Care 2007, 16: 371-377.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Labeau S, et al.: Evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Results of a knowledge test among intensive care nurses. Intensive Care Med 2007, 33: 1463-1467. 10.1007/s00134-007-0705-0PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar


© BioMed Central Ltd 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.