Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The Bispectral Index (BIS) technology developed by Aspect Medical Systems is Food and Drug Administration approved and commercially available to monitor the effects of anesthetics and sedatives on the level of consciousness in the Operating Room, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and in special procedure environments where sedation is administered. Sedation management is a challenge in the ICU with serious consequences resulting from oversedation or undersedation. A literature review provides evidence that the BIS is a reliable, valid tool for objective sedation assessment in the ICU. However, critical care nurses must be able to first identify which patient populations can benefit from BIS use. Then, nurses must understand this technology to appropriately interpret the data within the context of the clinical situation. Knowledge of the BIS is essential as nurses often direct sedation management after initial physician’s orders for sedation have been received. To date, there are no established research-based guidelines for nurses regarding BIS use in the critical care setting. This independent study explored this knowledge gap and developed a procedure and skill competency validation to optimize BIS utilization by critical care nurses in the ICU. The procedure and skill competency validation was received well by the critical care nurses. The post-implementation evaluation provided evidence that the critical care nurses were competent and willing to utilize BIS technology effectively to promote optimal sedation management.