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, 2025

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, read Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes, and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider number CEP 1036, for 1.00 contact hours.

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