61% of pediatric nurses in poor work environments miss care, study shows

A study, published in Hospital Pediatrics, investigated the factors influencing missed care activities among nurses in a pediatric setting.

Researchers studied survey data including responses from 2,187 pediatric registered nurses between 2006 and 2008. The survey polled nurses on whether they had not performed any required care activities due to a lack of time as well as which care activities they missed.

The researchers then categorized hospitals into poor, mixed and better work environments, based on a number of factors, such as the nursing staff's relationship with physicians, whether resources and nurse staffing levels were adequate as well as the presence of a capable and supportive nurse manager.

Here are five insights:

1. More than half of the nurses reported having missed at least one care activity.

2. Care activities such as planning, comforting, teaching and counseling were missed most frequently, while pain management, treatments and procedures were least likely to be missed.

3. While 61 percent of nurses in poor work environments missed care, only 46 percent of those in better work environments reported missing care.

4. Nurses in better environments also missed fewer care activities.

5. Nurses were 70 percent more likely to miss care for each additional patient they were assigned to.

"The implications are that quality of care differs pretty significantly across institutions and that if we can either provide better staffing or better work environments or both that nurses can get their care completed," said Eileen T. Lake, PhD, MSN, BSN, the Jessie M. Scott Endowed Term Associate Professor of Nursing and Health Policy at Philadelphia-based Penn Nursing and first author on the study.

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