Best Practice|Articles in Press

Incorporating Evidence-based Ultrasound-guided Vascular Access (USGVA) Standards Into the Nurse Anesthetist Armamentarium: A Quality Improvement Project

Published:January 18, 2023DOI:



      This quality improvement (QI) project developed and implemented a hybrid training program, that included online modules and hands-on training for experienced certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) to increase confidence, knowledge, and competency with ultrasound-guided vascular access (USGVA).


      This QI project used a pre-post design. Seventeen volunteer CRNAs participated in USGVA training and education, and a 90-day follow-up assessment was performed.


      The Revised Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE 2.0) guidelines were used as a framework to assess confidence, knowledge, and hands-on competency of 17 CRNAs who regularly place vascular access devices using USGVA in patients with difficult vascular access at a single facility. These assessments were measured at: (1) baseline, (2) immediately after attending a hybrid training educational program, and (3) 90 days after implementation into clinical practice. Additionally, the number of vascular access attempts required for successful placement of peripheral intravenous (PIV) catheters, arterial catheters, and central venous catheters (CVC) with ultrasound assistance over a 90-day period was reviewed.


      Certified registered nurse anesthetists’ median confidence score increased significantly from pre- to post-education (P = .009). The confidence reported from post- to 90 days post-education improved, however it did not reach statistical significance (P = .812). The knowledge scores from pre- to post-education indicated significant improvement (P <. 001), as well as from pre- to 90 days post-education (P = .03). However, knowledge scores from post- to 90 days post-education revealed a statistically significant decline (P = .004). The overall median score for hands-on USGVA competency declined from post- to 90 days post-education (P = .109). The number of successful USGVA placements increased from 50% to 80% within a 90-day period.


      The implementation of a USGVA hybrid training and education program improved overall provider confidence, knowledge, and competency. While confidence remained high in the 90-day follow-up, knowledge retention declined. Despite a decline in knowledge retention over time, results showed a significant improvement when compared to baseline scores. Although a decline in hands-on USGVA competency was seen at 90 days posteducation, it was not statistically significant. The percentage of overall successful USGVA placements in clinical practice increased following implementation.


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