Nasogastric tube feeding (NGT) is a feeding method that has been practiced globally by health care professionals for a long time. It involves the introduction of a liquid food via a tube inserted through the nose into the stomach (Sharma et al, 2010). Nasogastric tube was first used to deliver enteral feed by an Italian medical personnel in the year 1600s, however, some scholars points its first use to be by John Hunter who fed a patient using a flexible hollow leather tube in 1790. Since that time several types of NGT made of silicon, polyvinyl chloride and polyurethane are available globally (Simons & Abdallah, 2012). Nasogastric feeding is a relatively safe method of feeding, however it can be masked with some complications if the laid down protocols of the procedure are not followed. These complications are majorly classified as infectious, gastrointestinal, mechanical and metabolic. The worst complication is aspiration which can lead to death. Critically sick patients are prone to aspirations due to low level of consciousness, poor cough reflex and altered gastrointestinal motility (Daniels, Grendell & Wilkins, 2010).Feeding in order to meet the body metabolic requirement is a vital component for the survival of human beings. The critically ill patients are unable to feed normally due to the weakened state of the body or other pathological conditions such as tumors blocking the esophagus thus warranting feeding via NGT (Moreira & McQuiggan, 2009). Nasogastric tube insertion and feeding is one of the simplest enteral feeding methods that is widely used globally because of its advantages of maintaining the functionality of the GIT, and it is cheap compared to parenteral nutrition. It is in this regard that knowledge and skill of nurses in the insertion and care of the NGT are vital to maintain patient safety (Delaune & Ladner 2011). Nurses working in the medical and surgical department occasionally underestimate the consequences of poor nutrition to critically ill patients (Waitzberg et al., 2001). One of the major role of nurses to hospitalized patients is the provision of food and fluids. Adequate nutrition reduces hospital stay, reduces mortality and is cost effective (Bourgault., 2007). Putting all these into consideration, it can be concluded that nutrition is core in the care for the critically ill patients.In United States of America, enteral nutrition has been taken to be the standard care of patients who are unable to feed orally. According to the national health statistics, in 2012 251,000 patients received enteral nutrition of which 78% were adults (Kozeniecki & Fritzshall, 2015). In their study, Muneer et al., (2016), on nurses knowledge and performance regarding NGT feeding in Ismailia Hospital in Cairo, found that nearly three quarters (71.1%) had satisfactory knowledge regarding feeding. However, 62.2% had unsatisfactory level of practice. Adherence to the standard protocols during insertion and the care of nasogastric tube feeding is key in a poor resource set up like Africa, where quality of healthcare provisions and safety faces a great challenge. According to EL-Meanawi (2017) a study in Egypt showed that 62% of nurses had poor knowledge on NGT feeding management and showed unsafe practices in the medical and surgical wards. Stewart (2014) stated that it is imperative for the nurses to be knowledgeable of the primary characteristics of NGT feeding, since they are poised to have a major impact on patient care.
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