Document Type

DNP Project


School of Nursing

Date of Degree

Spring 2020


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Primary Advisor

Majeda El-Banna, PhD, RN CNE; Teresa Connolly, PhD, RN, ACNS, CNRN


Background: Substantial research has shown anxiety can negatively affect patients during the surgical period. Healthcare staff have limited time to educate.

Objectives: This study assessed the effect of pre-operative patient education on general surgical patients’ level of state anxiety. Also, compared the differences of pre and post intervention anxiety scores between patients undergoing different types of surgery and anticipating varied length of hospital stay.

Methods: A one-hour educational class, either in-person or online, provided information about surgery and recovery phase to 20 pre-operative patients. Participants’ anxiety levels before and after the class were measured using the State Anxiety Inventory questionnaire. Paired t-tests were used to compare anxiety levels before and after the intervention. Changes in anxiety levels within different lengths of stay and types of surgery were also assessed. One open-ended question was asked to assess perceptions of the education.

Results: Patients’ state anxiety levels decreased significantly from M = 41.85 (SD = 11.64) preintervention to M = 34.85 (SD = 10.08) post-intervention, t (19) = 3.75, p < .001. However, there was no significant difference in the change of anxiety level between different surgical groups and anticipated varied length of stay. Written feedback from participants indicated the intervention helped with preparing for surgery, increasing confidence, and decreasing anxiety.

Conclusion: Nurse led verbal pre-operative education decreases anxiety in surgical patients which may lead to improvement in patient self-efficacy and outcomes. Further research is needed to determine whether these findings are generalizable.

Open Access


Included in

Nursing Commons



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