Knowledge levels of Korean intensive care nurses towards brain death and organ transplantation

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Abstract

Aims and objectives

To develop and examine the reliability and validity of an instrument assessing knowledge levels of Korean intensive care unit nurses. To conduct a survey with Korean ICU nurses.

Background

Organ donation from brain dead patients is a contentious issue in Korea following recent legal recognition of brain death, given the context of a Confucian belief system. Implementation of the new Organ Transplant Act has highlighted the importance of identifying Korean intensive care unit nurses' knowledge regarding brain death and organ donation.

Design

Multi-stage multi-method development of an original instrument with a cross-sectional analysis survey of participants.

Method

An 18-item instrument was developed based on previous literature and key informant interviews, and validated by an expert panel and a pilot study. A survey was conducted with Korean intensive care unit nurses (n = 520). Principal component analysis with varimax rotation was used to determine construct validity. Item-to-total correlations and Cronbach's coefficient alpha were used to determine the scale's internal consistency.

Results

Principal component analysis yielded a two-component structure: Diagnostic testing and Co-morbid factors of brain death. The scale demonstrated acceptable internal consistency for the two components (α = 0·74, 0·64, respectively). Most of the participants had a sound knowledge of diagnostic testing for brain death, but demonstrated a lack of knowledge regarding co-morbid factors of brain dead patients.

Conclusions

The knowledge scale was reliable and valid for this cohort. Further research is warranted in related areas of nursing practice.

Relevance to clinical practice

Effective education for intensive care unit nurses is necessary to increase the organ donor pool in Korea.

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