Title of Work

Nurses Need Education on Women's Unique Stroke Symptoms

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Conference Name

International Stroke Conference: State-of-the-Science Stroke Nursing Symposium 2022


Background: Stroke remains the third-leading cause of death and a major cause of disability in women. After a stroke, women have a 59% disability rate compared to 26% for men in the acute phase. Men and women share common stroke symptoms. However, women can also experience “unique” “atypical,” or “nontraditional” stroke symptoms. Early recognition of stroke is crucial to better outcomes, but despite the fact that nurses play a crucial role in identifying stroke symptoms and activating care early, information is lacking on nurse’s knowledge in recognizing stroke symptoms in women. Purpose: To examine nurse’s knowledge and confidence level in recognizing common and unique stroke symptoms in women. Methods: In this quantitative study, nurses were recruited via targeted social media platforms to complete an online survey about women and stroke. Nurses self-declared that they met eligibility criteria. A nurse was defined as an individual who holds a license, is legally permitted to practice, and holds the title of Registered Nurse, Advanced Practice Nurse (masters or doctorate), or Licensed Practical Nurse. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, independent t -tests, and one-way ANOVA. Results: 129 nurses completed the survey over four months. Nurses were 86% women with a mean age of 42 years, and 55% held advanced degrees. Over 80% identified the common stroke symptoms of stroke, and over 70% identified the additional stroke symptoms. However, less than 25% could identify unique stroke symptoms of women, including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (7%), hallucination (11%). A majority of the nurses (76%) lacked the confidence to recognize stroke symptoms in women. Lower scores for common stroke symptom knowledge ( p =0.01), confidence ( p =0.01), and unique stroke symptoms in women confidence scores ( p =0.05) were observed in nurses with < 20 years’ experience. Conclusions: Nurses lacked knowledge and confidence in correctly identifying unique stroke symptoms in women with nurses who had fewer years of professional experience fairing worse. Education targeted at nurses should include strategies to enhance their knowledge and confidence level in recognizing stroke symptoms unique to women.

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