Background: Antibiotic stewardship (ABS) is a set of strategies to optimize the use of antibiotics with the goal of reducing antibiotic resistance, improving patient outcomes and decreasing unnecessary costs. ABS affects all venues of patient care, including outpatient, inpatient, and long-term care. While many strategies for ABS exist and best practice continues to evolve, successful ABS programs utilize a multidisciplinary approach. Nurse practitioners (NPs) play an essential role in health care education and represent a valuable potential resource for ABS efforts. The purpose of this study is to describe the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of NPs towards ABS.Methods: A convenience sample of NPs attending the American Association of Nurse Practitioners annual conference was given a modified descriptive survey developed for use in a previous study conducted at a university-affiliated hospital in Florida. Descriptive statistics were used to assess normality. Chi-Square test of independence was used to test differences categorical scores by NP setting, gender, and level of education. Pearson r correlation was completed to measure the relationship between age and years in practice.Results: Two hundred NPs completed the questionnaire (88% female; 70% Master’s degree). The range of experience was 0-45 years (mean 11 years). Most NPs worked in a private office (23%) or community setting (29%). Factors affecting the decisions of antibiotic prescriptions included patient condition (79%) and patient cost (58%). NPs in this study also based their antibiotic decisions on the antibiogram (63%) in their setting, while 56% indicated they start with broad spectrum and tailor antibiotic choices when culture results are received. NPs reported understanding that inappropriate use of antibiotics causes resistance (97%), harms the patient (97%), and optimum antibiotic use will reduce resistance (94%). Participants also recognized that strong knowledge of antibiotics was important for their job (94%) and felt confident in their use of antibiotics (86%). However, while 94% of respondents somewhat or strongly agreed that antibiotics are overused nationally, only 62% thought antibiotics were overused in their health care setting. Conclusion: In this study, most NPs reported that antibiotic resistance is a problem and antibiotics are overused nationally. Fewer believe that antibiotic resistance is a problem locally and fewer still that they, personally, contribute to the problem. NPs recognize that knowledge about antibiotics is important to their career and would like more education about antibiotics and feedback about their antibiotic choices. Finding effective ways to provide this education could change practice and improve antibiotic use.



College and Department

Nursing; Nursing



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antibiotics, antimicrobials, stewardship, resistance, nurse practitioner