Knowledge and practices of nurses concerning intravenous potassium administration in a Turkish hospital

Güneş A., Celik S. S.

Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol.32, no.1, pp.16-22, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Journal Name: Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.16-22
  • Keywords: potassium, patient safety, nurse, medical error, surgical
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: Based on this literature review, it is clear that intravenous potassium is a potentially toxic electrolyte, which has been responsible for a large number of deaths in hospitals. In Turkey, research on intravenous potassium administration is limited in the available literature. In addition, clinical observations made by the researchers suggests there is knowledge and practice deficiencies among nurses related to potassium administration. Thus, this study aimed to determine how wide the knowledge and practice deficiencies among nurses was concerning intravenous potassium administration in a Turkish Hospital. Design: This was a descriptive study. Setting: This study was conducted in a university hospital in Turkey. Subjects and Method: The sample of this study consisted of a total 105 nurses working in surgery clinics or surgical intensive care units of a university hospital, who volunteered to participate in the study.The questionnaire used in this study was developed by the researchers with the help of material obtained from the literature review. Questionnaires were distributed and collected to participants by researcher. In the calculation of knowledge and practice scores, every correct answer was assigned 1 point, while incorrect answers were assigned 0. Mean, percentage, ANOVA, the kruskal-wallis h test, the mann-whitney u test and pearson correlation were used for data analysis. Results: The mean knowledge score of nurses on intravenous potassium administration was found to be 9.48±3.21, while the mean practice score was 10.85±2.04. These results suggest that the nurses’ knowledge and practice scores were found to be relatively lower compared to 17 which is the highest scores of both knowledge and practice about intravenous potassium administration. It is also important to state that statistically significant and positive relationship was found (r: 0.595; p< 0.05). The majority of the nurses (61.9%) did not know all the elements of a correct potassium order. The differences in nurses’ knowledge scores according to the type of hospital unit and training status on liquid electrolyte balance were found to be statistically significant (p<0.05). Nurses with duration of employment of over 10 years were found to have higher knowledge scores than nurses with employment duration of below four years. This difference was found to be statistically significant (p<0.05). Conclusion: In light of the findings of this study it is recommended that nursing curriculum and in-service training programs in Turkey should address intravenous potassium administration more extensively and that protocols related to intravenous potassium administration be developed and implemented.