Continuous electroencephalographic training for neuroscience intensive care unit nurses: A feasibility study

Christine Picinich, Jeffrey Kennedy, Harjot Thind, Christine Foreman, Ryan M. Martin, Lara L. Zimmermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Use of continuous electroencephalographic (cEEG) monitoring has more than doubled at our institution for the last 4 years. Although intensive care unit cEEG is reviewed remotely by board-certified epileptologists every 4 to 6 hours, there are inherent delays between occurrence, recognition, and treatment of epileptiform activity. Neuroscience intensive care unit (NSICU) nurses are uniquely positioned to monitor cEEG in real time yet do not receive formal training. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an education program to teach nurses to monitor cEEG, identify a burst suppression pattern, and measure the duration of suppression. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of pretest and posttest data. All NSICU nurses (40) were invited to complete the pretest (PT-0), with 25 participating. Learning style/preference, demographics, comfort with cEEG, and knowledge of EEG fundamentals were assessed. A convenience cohort of NSICU nurses (13) were selected to undergo EEG training. Posttests evaluating EEG fundamental knowledge were completed immediately after training (PT-1), at 3 months (PT-3), and at 6 months (PT-6). The cohort also completed a burst suppression module after the training, which assessed ability to quantify the duration of suppression. RESULTS: Mean cohort test scores significantly improved after the training (P <.001). All nurses showed improvement in test scores, and 76.9% passed PT-1 (a score of 80% or higher). Reported mean comfort level with EEG also significantly improved after the training (P =.001). There was no significant difference between mean cohort scores between PT-1, PT-3, and PT-6 (all 88.6%; P = 1.000). Mean cohort score from the bust suppression module was 73%, with test scores ranging from 31% to 93%. CONCLUSIONS: NSICU nurses can be taught fundamentals of cEEG, to identify a burst suppression pattern, and to quantify the duration of suppression. Further research is needed to determine whether this knowledge can be translated into clinical competency and affect patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-250
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • adult
  • brain injuries
  • brain injury, traumatic
  • cEEG
  • critical care nursing
  • critical care/methods
  • electroencephalography
  • intensive care units
  • intracranial hypertension
  • monitoring, physiologic/nursing
  • neurocritical care
  • neuroscience nursing
  • nursing evaluation research
  • nursing staff, hospital/education
  • status epilepticus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Medical–Surgical


Dive into the research topics of 'Continuous electroencephalographic training for neuroscience intensive care unit nurses: A feasibility study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this