New Patient Safety Primer on Missed Nursing Care Highlights Importance of Nurses to Safety Culture
Although there is a well-established link between the adequacy of nurse staffing in hospitals and patient outcomes, the pathway that connects the two is less well understood. A new primer on missed nursing care, posted on AHRQ’s Patient Safety Network, highlights one of these pathways. Missed nursing care is a subset of the category known as error of omission. It refers to needed nursing care that is delayed, partially completed or not completed at all. Missed nursing care is problematic because nurses coordinate, provide and evaluate many interventions prescribed by others to treat illness in hospitalized patients. Nurses also plan, deliver and evaluate nurse-initiated care to manage patients’ symptoms and responses to care. Thus, missed nursing care not only constitutes a form of medical error that may affect safety, but also has been deemed to be a unique type of medical underuse.