Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Patricia Percival

Second Advisor

Janet Reinbold


The purpose of this within subject experimental study was to determine what effect showering by nurses, as compared to bed bathing patients, has on the haemodynamic and subjective responses of low risk patients within 48 hours of having a myocardial infarction. The sample consisted of 50 patients, 8 female and 42 male, with a mean age of 61 years (SD = 10). Twenty-five were randomly assigned to a bed bath, then a shower over 2 consecutive days and the other 25 to the reverse order. The haemodynamic responses consisted of heart rate, rate pressure product (RPP), blood pressure, cardiac rhythm, ST segment changes, arterial oxygen consumption (Sa02) and chest pain. Each of these responses was measured prior to, during, immediately afterwards and 5 minutes after each bathing method. Ratings of perceived exertion and a short questionnaire were completed after both bathing methods to assess patients' subjective responses. The only significant difference in the cardiovascular responses to both bathing methods was an increase in the Sa02 measurement, during the shower (p < .05). Twelve patients had abnormal cardiovascular responses to the bed bath and 7 to the shower which were not significant (p >.05). Either a fall in systolic blood pressure, or changes in heart rate or rhythm accounted for the abnormal cardiovascular responses. Patients overwhelmingly demonstrated their preference for a shower (p < .05). The findings of this research demonstrated that showering low risk patients in the first 48 hours post myocardial infarction does not increase myocardial oxygen demands. Low risk patients can mobilise sooner and therefore be discharged earlier, thus resulting in savings in health care costs and an enhanced sense of patient well being.

Included in

Nursing Commons