OBJECTIVES: A growing literature suggests that missed nursing care is common in hospitals and may contribute to poor patient outcomes. There has been scant empirical evidence in pediatric populations. Our objectives were to describe the frequency and patterns of missed nursing care in inpatient pediatric settings and to determine whether missed nursing care is associated with unfavorable work environments and high nurse workloads.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study using registered nurse survey data from 2006 to 2008 was conducted. Data from 2187 NICU, PICU, and general pediatric nurses in 223 hospitals in 4 US states were analyzed. For 12 nursing activities, nurses reported about necessary activities that were not done on their last shift because of time constraints. Nurses reported their patient assignment and rated their work environment.
RESULTS: More than half of pediatric nurses had missed care on their previous shift. On average, pediatric nurses missed 1.5 necessary care activities. Missed care was more common in poor versus better work environments (1.9 vs 1.2; P < .01). For 9 of 12 nursing activities, the prevalence of missed care was significantly higher in the poor environments (P < .05). In regression models that controlled for nurse, nursing unit, and hospital characteristics, the odds that a nurse missed care were 40% lower in better environments and increased by 70% for each additional patient.
CONCLUSIONS: Nurses in inpatient pediatric care settings that care for fewer patients each and practice in a professionally supportive work environment miss care less often, increasing quality of patient care.
- Accepted February 27, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics