How to Prepare an Abstract to Submit to a Scientific Meeting
Follow the directions below to construct an abstract. These instructions can be used for any EBP project abstract.
Helpful hints for writing abstracts.
Number one. A scientific abstract is not creative writing. That may sound simple, but clarity and directness are the keys to presenting your material. Overuse of abbreviations or jargon does not substitute for good writing.
Number two. Follow the directions as outlined in the author guidelines for the meeting:
Number three. Think of your audience as well as your reviewers as you construct your abstract.
You have read the basics and now you are ready to develop a scientific abstract. You know the audience and you have written your problem statement. Let’s take each section of an abstract and examine what should be included.
Background/Significance of problem (use the headings suggested in the author guidelines).
This section is for your problem statement and why it is important. Don’t confuse your reader with excess verbiage.
Your PICO question is about fall rates with early mobility after stroke. Why is this important? In this background statement, it quickly gets to the point.
Cognitive and functional abilities can be improved with early mobilization in the hospitalized stroke patient. Often, the fear of a stroke patient falling prevents clinical nurses from getting patients out of bed. Several investigators found physical activity during hospitalization improved measures of functional ability and decreased depression.
This is your PICO or PICOT question. Short, sweet, and supports the problem statement.
In hospitalized patients who have experienced a stroke, does very early mobilization in the first 24 hours impact the fall rate?
Search of literature/best evidence
This section is where you tell the reviewers how you found the literature that led to your change in nursing practice. This includes the databases searched, key words used, yield of articles, and the number of articles that met the criteria to be included in your synthesis. This is a challenging section. The idea is to let the reviewer (and then in your presentation, your audience) know that you did a very complete search and the literature you found encompassed what was needed to answer your clinical question. Your job is to have the audience feel relieved that they don’t have to go to do the literature search!!!! You’ve done a thorough job. But of course, in an abstract, your words are limited. Be sure you describe your thoroughness clearly.
Combining the key words stroke and early mobilization in Ovid Medline and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 56 articles were identified, 9 that met the inclusion criteria for research with a mobilization intervention and reported outcomes for falls or functional capacity or depression. One meta-analysis and 8 randomized controlled trials (RCT) were reviewed.
What did the articles that you found tell you about your outcome variables? Again, quite challenging as this section isn’t asking you to repeat what each article found but what they all found about your outcome (listed in your PICO question). Most likely you did a synthesis table during your project that gave you a snapshot--did the studies find improvement or not? Use that table to help you describe the findings.
Patients in the pooled analysis who were ambulated early experienced only 5% of falls compared to 14% in the standard care group. The early mobilized patients were 3 times more likely to be independent at 3 months. Three out of the 8 RCTs found no difference in fall rates for early mobilized subjects.
The body of research for nursing workflow and missed nursing care is descriptive comparative. Interruptions have been documented from .3 to 13.9 per hour. Although patient safety is of concern, there is little empirical evidence linking interruptions to patient safety. The investigations for missed nursing care have identified specific errors that have indirect links to patient outcomes. Nursing staffing, case mix, and absenteeism were predictive of missed nursing care with communication, labor and material resources as common reasons for missed care. Recommendations for nurses to have more time at the bedside included patient-center designs, integrated technology, and seamless workplace environments.
Integration into practice.
This is a description of what you did to modify practice. Either there was insufficient evidence to change practice and you are piloting a proposed change or you are using the literature to modify practice. Either way, describe what was done and what was measured.
The EBP project team developed and implemented a multidisciplinary protocol for the early mobility in stroke patients. Mobility was progressed from sitting, standing to walking and began within the first 24 hours of hospitalization. Tasks were described for clinical nurses, patient care technicians and Physical Therapists, as all contributed to the patient’s functional independence. Clinical nurses were initially uncomfortable with the new protocol as the fall risk was of great concern.
The ABCDE bundle [this abbreviation was defined earlier in the abstract] was integrated into ICU practice after modification of the medical record and education of nursing and respiratory clinicians. Baseline data on the presence of delirium was collected to determine the current rate of delirium present in the ICU.
We chose to implement a thermoregulation bundle on trauma patients. The bundle included one active and two passive warming measures, and the goal was to maintain or improve the temperatures of those patients while in the Emergency Department.
Evaluation of evidenced based practice
This is your outcome (s) of your pilot….the answer to your PICO question. Your outcome measures need to be from your PICO question.
Falls for ICU Stepdown patients 6 months before and 6 months after the early mobility program were evaluated. During the pre-integration period, 19 patients experienced a fall. During the 6 months after the new practice was implemented, 7 falls occurred on the unit. Early mobilization did not increase the fall rate in this patient population.
After evaluating patients from April 1, 2010 until November 1, 2011, the data showed a significant difference in the change in temperature pre and post bundle implementation. We also found that patients were 57% less likely to die if temperature was maintained and 54% less likely to die if passive warming measures were used.
Baseline delirium was 22% and trended downward as the bundle strategies were integrated. A delirium dashboard was created to follow ICU length of stay, all-cause mortality, ventilator associated pneumonia, and ventilator days; all factors that are impacted by the presence of patient delirium. As of September 2012, no change in length of ICU has been observed; however, ventilator days have slowly reduced.
© Rebecca P. Winsett, PhD, RN, March 2015