Date of Award

Fall 1979

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




This study measured the effect of deliberative nursing intervention to decrease disturbances to patients at night on the sleep time of a specific group of patients in a medical-respiratory intensive care unit. The study was conducted at a large, private, general hospital in a six-bed medical-respiratory intensive care unit. The sample consisted of eight patients, four in the control group and four in the experimental group. Data were collected on all patients between the hours of 2300 and 0700 and included the following: (1) onset and duration of sleep; (2) number, nature, and duration of disturbances to the patient; (3) vital signs every fifteen minutes; (4) any lab values which may have altered the level of consciousness or affected the patient's ability to sleep; (5) medications administered which may have altered the sleep/wakefulness of a patient; and (6) demographic data. Control data were collected first, with no prior instructions given to the registered nurses caring for the patients. Data were collected by a researcher who was not the caregiver. Upon completion of control data collection, an informal class was given to the night shift nurses, which reviewed the functions of sleep, the importance of sleep to the healing process, and deliberative nursing intervention to promote sleep. The nurses agreed to utilize deliberative nursing intervention on designated experimental group patients. Experimental data was then collected. It was found that the number of total disturbances to patients was decreased by an average of 54 percent from the control to the experimental group. The average sleep time of the patients was increased by .77 of an hour from the control to the experimental group. This was felt by the researcher to be significant, as it represented 10 percent of the longest total sleep time experienced by any patient in the control group.