Document Type

DNP Project

Publication Date



Background: Respiratory compromise is one of the most common complications that occur in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and accounts for half of the closed claims involving death in the PACU. However, with appropriate monitoring like capnography, identification of respiratory depression or apnea can occur prior to the adverse respiratory events (ARE). Although capnography is not currently considered a standard monitor in the PACU, it retains many advantages when used in conjunction with pulse oximetry and other standard monitors. Current research supports its use, and many organizations have created position statements and clinical practice recommendations for the use of capnography when patients are given any pharmacotherapeutic that alters sensorium. A knowledge deficit regarding capnography has been found among the perianesthesia nurses of the Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital, and inservice training was deemed a necessity in improving the quality of care provided to the patients. Aim: This project aims to evaluate a knowledge deficit about the utilization and interpretation of capnography among the perianesthesia nurses and subsequently provide in-service training. Methods and Procedure: A repeated measures, pre/post-test design was utilized to evaluate perianesthesia nurses (n = 23). A dependent paired samples t-test was used to compare mean score differences between the pre-and post-test scores. A 15 minutes in-service session was provided in the PACU to a group of 2-5 perianesthesia nurses at the time for three days. Results: Post-test scores were significantly higher than the pre-test scores following the educational intervention (p < 0.001), based on a two-tailed Wilcoxon ranked test. Conclusion: Providing education on the use and interpretation of capnography resulted in better post-test scores indicating an increased acquisition of knowledge pertaining to capnography.


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