Nurses' knowledge of patients´' swallowing ability

a cross sectional study in Portugal




knowledge gaps, nursing research, patient safety, healthcare teams, safe health care delivery, patient rehabilitation, swallowing disorders, dysphagia


Background: oropharyngeal dysphagia is the result of a series of neuromuscular disorders that can impair swallowing. These alterations compromise adequate nutritional support and often endanger the safety of the person with dysphagia. The prevalence of dysphagia is known to increase with age, but it is still an underdiagnosed problem, which should be a concern for nurses.

Objective: To identify nurses' knowledge of patients' swallowing ability in a Portuguese hospital.

Methodology: Quantitative, descriptive-correlational, cross-sectional study using a non-probabilistic convenience sample of 62 nurses. The online survey includes sociodemographic/ professional indicators, an assessment of nurses' knowledge of swallowing ability, relevant data for dysphagia diagnosis and compensatory swallowing strategies.

Results: 62 nurses were included, mostly female (80.6%), with an average age of 38.50 years, with a prevalence of those under 39 (53.2%), with a degree (71.0%) and who had been working in the profession for 14 years or less (54.8%), there was a higher percentage of men who had not had any training in dysphagia compared to women (66.7% vs. 52. 0%). The multiple linear regression showed as predictors of knowledge of swallowing ability: knowledge of relevant data to diagnose dysphagia, knowledge of compensatory strategies and inversely professional exercise (p<0.000).

Conclusions: The higher the knowledge about compensatory swallowing strategies and the knowledge about the relevant data for diagnosing dysphagia, and the shorter the time spent in professional practice, the greater the nurses' knowledge about dysphagia. These results suggest the need of continuous education about dysphagia for more experienced professionals.

What is the main contribution to evidence-based practice from this research?

The article contributes to promote a a better Identification of nurses' knowledge about the signs of dysphagia and compensatory swallowing strategies in case of dysphagia.

Author Biographies

Susana Batista, Polytechnic University Viseu, School of Health, Portugal

Associate Professor in Polytechnic University Viseu and European University for Customised Education

Investigator in Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing

Rehabilitation Nursing Department

Carlos Albuquerque, Polytechnic University of Viseu, School of Health, Portugal

Professor in Polytechnic University Viseu 

Investigator in Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing

Rehabilitation Nursing Department

Ana Andrade, Polytechnic University of Viseu, School of Health, Portugal

Associate Professor in Polytechnic University Viseu 

Investigator in Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing

Community Nursing Department

João Duarte, Polytechnic University of Viseu, School of Health, Portugal

Emerit Professor in Polytechnic University Viseu 

Investigator in Health Sciences Research Unit: Nursing

Medical-Surgical Nursing Department


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difficulties swallowing



How to Cite

Loureiro Pais Batista, S. M., Pereira Gaspar, A. C., Madeira dos Santos, B., da Cunha Silva, F., Fonseca Marta, F., Pinto Pedrosa, I., Lopes Martins, R. M., Sousa Albuquerque, C. M., Nunes Pereira de Azevedo e Andrade, A. I., & Carvalho Duarte, J. (2023). Nurses’ knowledge of patients´’ swallowing ability : a cross sectional study in Portugal. International Healthcare Review (online).



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