Megan Curtis

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Committee Member

Lydia McBurrows, DNP, Project Lead

Committee Member

Jennifer Sjostedt Avery, PhD, RN, GNP-BC

Committee Member

Delbert M. Raymond, PhD, RN

Committee Member

Paul Park, MD

Committee Member

Kelly Hornbacher


Background/Review of Literature: A lumbar fusion is a complex surgical intervention with many postoperative guidelines and restrictions. Preparing patients with surgery specific education has shown to decrease their sense of disability and postoperative pain in other surgical specialties, but a disparity exists in spinal surgery.
Purpose: To examine the effect of a preoperative education class for lumbar fusion patients on their perceived level of disability, the number of patient phone calls made to the neurosurgery office, the number of postoperative emergency room (ER) visits, and the number of hospital readmissions after surgery.
Methods: A quality improvement project utilizing a quantitative quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest, retrospective comparison group design using convenience sampling. All patients scheduled to undergo a lumbar fusion surgery were invited to a one-time, 1-hour, virtual education class conducted within 30 days prior to surgery. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was used to measure patients’ perceived level of disability related to their back pain, comparing preoperative and 1-month postoperative scores. Patient phone calls, postoperative ER visits, and hospital readmissions before and after the intervention were also tracked.
Results: There were no statistically significant findings in the outcomes, however, clinical significance was demonstrated with the raw data from the intervention group showing decreased postoperative ODI scores, decreased patient phone call numbers to clinic, and decreased ER and hospital readmissions.
Implications/Conclusion: Patient feedback on the class has been very positive. Neurosurgery leadership has requested this class continue for the benefit of the patients and to gather a larger sample size for further analysis.

Included in

Nursing Commons