AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore issues and challenges associated with nurse-administered procedural sedation and analgesia in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory from the perspectives of senior nurses.
BACKGROUND: Nurses play an important part in managing sedation because the prescription is usually given verbally directly from the cardiologist who is performing the procedure and typically, an anaesthetist is not present.
DESIGN: A qualitative exploratory design was employed.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 23 nurses from 16 cardiac catheterisation laboratories across four states in Australia and also New Zealand were conducted. Data analysis followed the guide developed by Braun and Clark to identify the main themes.
RESULTS: Major themes emerged from analysis regarding the lack of access to anaesthetists, the limitations of sedative medications, the barriers to effective patient monitoring and the impact that the increasing complexity of procedures has on patients' sedation requirements.
CONCLUSIONS: The most critical issue identified in this study is that current guidelines, which are meant to apply regardless of the clinical setting, are not practical for the cardiac catheterisation laboratory due to a lack of access to anaesthetists. Furthermore, this study has demonstrated that nurses hold concerns about the legitimacy of their practice in situations when they are required to perform tasks outside of clinical practice guidelines. To address nurses' concerns, it is proposed that new guidelines could be developed, which address the unique circumstances in which sedation is used in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Nurses need to possess advanced knowledge and skills in monitoring for the adverse effects of sedation. Several challenges impact on nurses' ability to monitor patients during procedural sedation and analgesia. Preprocedural patient education about what to expect from sedation is essential.