Implementation of a Nurse-Driven Spontaneous Awakening Trial Protocol in a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Author(s): Scott W. Ketcham, MD, Sarah K. Adie, PharmD. Kent Brummel, MD, Emily Walker, RN, Hallie C. Prescott, MD, MSc Michael P. Thomas, MD

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP A 1.00

Expires Apr 01, 2023

Topics: Pulmonary

Population: Adult

Role: Staff

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Activity Summary

Required reading for all learners: Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes

This article discusses how previous SAT protocols have been implemented without reliable use because of nursing concerns about patient safety, discomfort, ventilator asynchrony, self-extubation and aggressive behaviors. Nurses did not have significant involvement in the creation of prior protocols, and it was unclear who was responsible for initiating SATs. This article outlines how a nurse-driven SAT protocol modified for the CICU population met the goal of increasing the number of SATs performed; thus, decreasing the duration of continuous sedation infusions.


  • Identify three nursing concerns about performing spontaneous awakening trials (SATs) on cardiac ICU patients.
  • List two contraindications unique to the cardiac ICU population, to performing daily SATs.
  • Describe the impact of using a nurse-driven SAT protocol within a cardiac ICU.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. No conflicts of interest have been identified for any individual with the ability to influence the content of this activity. Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN or ANCC approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012. AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing (CBRN), California Provider number CEP 1036. This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hours.

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