Effect of Education on a Chest Pain Mnemonic on Door-to-ECG Time

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Introduction: Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) continues to contribute to both death and disability in both men and women. The first step in early intervention is an ECG. Atypically presenting patients, especially those who present by self-transport, are more likely to experience delays. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a new chest pain mnemonic (CPM) as a teaching tool for rapid recognition of AMI patients arriving by self-transport in ED triage in an effort to improve door-to-ECG (DTE) time.

Methods: This study is a longitudinal, quasi-experimental quantitative study. Instruction and evaluation of nurses' knowledge related to identification of AMI before and after instruction on the CPM education (intervention) were coordinated by the emergency clinical nurse specialist. The study sample for the educational intervention included 26 nurses (15% of total population) from 4 emergency departments. Ad hoc queries of the National Registry for Myocardial Infarction database for patients arriving by self-transport to the emergency department were done to examine DTE before and after intervention. The pretests and post-tests of the nurses were analyzed with a paired t test, and the pre- and post-intervention DTE times were analyzed by log-linear modeling.

Results: Evaluation of nurses' knowledge before and after CPM education indicated an improvement in DTE time, although it was not statistically significant. There was a significant improvement in DTE time for 2 hospitals that was somewhat negated in the aggregate data. There was a noted trend that showed an advantage in DTE time associated with male patients.

Discussion: Inclusion of tools such as the CPM in education programs for emergency nurses improved rapid recognition of AMI patients presenting via self-transport to the emergency department. Attention to gender differences in patient presentation should be included in future CPM education, and tools to assist nurses in the early recognition of AMI need to be developed. Investigation regarding intra-hospital differences is warranted.