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The focus on patient safety in the ambulatory setting was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and appropriately shifting priorities to responding to the pandemic. This piece explores some of the core themes of patient safety in the ambulatory setting, including diagnostic safety and diagnostic errors. Ways to enhance patient safety in the ambulatory care setting and next steps in ambulatory care safety are addressed. 

Falk A-C, Nymark C, Göransson KE, et al. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2022:103276.
Needed nursing care that is delayed, partially completed, or not completed at all is known as missed nursing care (MNC). Researchers surveyed critical care registered nurses during two phases of the COVID-19 pandemic about recent missed nursing care, perceived quality of care, and contributing factors. There were no major changes in the types of, or reasons for, MNC compared to the reference survey completed in fall 2019.

Järvinen TLN, Rickert J, Lee MJ. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013-2022.

This quarterly commentary explores a wide range of subjects associated with patient safety, such as the impact of disruptive behavior on teams, the value of apologies, and safety challenges due to COVID-19. Older materials are available online for free.
Meyer AND, Scott TMT, Singh H. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e228568.
Delayed communication of abnormal test results can contribute to diagnostic and treatment delays, patient harm, and malpractice claims. The Department of Veterans Affairs specifies abnormal test results be communicated to the patient within seven days if treatment is required, and within 14 days if no treatment is required. In the first full year of the program, 71% of abnormal test results and 80% of normal test results were communicated to the patient within the specified timeframes. Performance varied by facility and type of test.
Lacson R, Khorasani R, Fiumara K, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e522-e527.
Root cause analysis is a commonly used tool to identify systems-related factors that contributed to an adverse event. This study assessed a system-based approach, (i.e., collaborative case reviews (CCR) co-led by radiology and an institutional patient safety program) to identify contributing factors and explore the strength of recommended actions in the radiology department at a large academic medical center. Stronger action items, such as standardization of processes, were implemented in 41% of events, and radiology had higher completion rates than other hospital departments.
Labrague LJ, Santos JAA, Fronda DC. J Nurs Manag. 2022;30:62-70.
Missed or incomplete nursing care can adversely affect care quality and safety. Based on survey responses from 295 frontline nurses in the Philippines, this study explored factors contributing to missed nursing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings suggest that nurses most frequently missed tasks such as patient surveillance, comforting patients, skin care, ambulation, and oral hygiene. The authors suggest that increasing nurse staffing, adequate use of personal protective equipment, and improved safety culture may reduce instances of missed care.  
Rajan SS, Baldwin JL, Giardina TD, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e262-e266.
Radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology has been most commonly used in perioperative settings to improve patient safety. This study explored whether RFID technology can improve process measures in laboratory settings, such as order tracking, specimen processing, and test result communication. Findings indicate that RFID-tracked orders were more likely to have completed testing process milestones and were completed more quickly.
Lyndon A, Simpson KR, Spetz J, et al. Appl Nurs Res. 2022;63:151516.
Missed nursing care appears to be associated with higher rates of adverse events. More than 3,600 registered nurses (RNs) were surveyed about missed care during labor and birth in the United States. Three aspects of nursing care were reported missing by respondents: thorough review of prenatal records, missed timely documentation of maternal-fetal assessments, and failure to monitor input and output.
Jomaa C, Dubois C‐A, Caron I, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2022;78:2015-2029.
Nurses play a critical role in ensuring patient safety. This study explored the association between the organization of nursing services and patient safety incidents in rehabilitation units. Findings highlight the key role of appropriate nurse staffing in reducing the incidence of events such as falls and medication errors
von Vogelsang A‐C, Göransson KE, Falk A‐C, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2021;29:2343-2352.
Incomplete nursing care can be detrimental to care quality and patient safety. This cross-sectional survey of nurses in Sweden at one acute care hospital did not identify significant differences in missed nursing care before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors posit that these results may be attributed to maintaining nurse-patient ratios, sufficient nursing skill mix, and patient mix.
Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at the patient's bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede a nurse’s ability to detect and prevent adverse events.

J Nurs Manag. 2020;28(8): i-iv, 1767-2275.

Incomplete nursing care is known to affect care quality and safety. This special issue documents the global problem of missed or rationed nursing care in a variety of settings and countries. Articles featured in this special issue examine systemic issues, explore interventions, and evaluate measurement tools.
Salvador RO, Gnanlet A, McDermott C. Personnel Rev. 2020;50:971-984.
Prior research suggests that functional flexibility has benefits in several industries but may carry patient safety risks in healthcare settings. Using data from a national nursing database, this study examined the effect of unit-level nursing functional flexibility on the incidence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. Results indicate that higher use of functionally flexible nurses was associated with a higher number of pressure ulcers, but this effect was moderated when coworker support within the unit was high.
Rogith D, Satterly T, Singh H, et al. Appl Clin Inform. 2020;11:692-698.
Lack of timely follow-up of test results is a recognized patient safety problem in primary care and can lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. This study used human factors methods to understand lack of timely follow-up of abnormal test results in outpatient settings. Through interviews with the ordering physicians, the researchers identified several contributing factors, such as provider-patient communication channel mismatch and diffusion of responsibility.
Lagoo J, Berry WR, Henrich N, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020;46:314-320.
As part of a quality improvement initiative to enhance surgical onboarding, the authors used semi-structured interviews with 20 physicians to understand potential areas of risk when a physician begins working in an unfamiliar setting. Qualitative analysis found that three key findings: (1) physicians often receive little to no onboarding when starting to practice in a new setting, which can limit their ability to provide safe care; (2) physicians felt onboarding inadequately fostered strong interpersonal relationships among health care teams, which impedes psychological safety and team cohesion, and; (3) physicians noted an increased risk of patient harm during emergency situations in new settings due to lack of understanding of culture, workflow, roles/responsibilities and available equipment.
Kalánková D, Kirwan M, Bartoníčková D, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2020;28:1783-1797.
This scoping review assessed 44 studies to describe the scope of the evidence of the impact of missed, rationed and unfinished nursing care on patient-related outcomes; 9 of these studies focused on the impact on patient safety outcomes. The review concludes that medication errors as the biggest threat to patient safety resulting from missed, rationed or unfinished care, and that falls (with or without injury) and hospital-acquired infections are the most common resulting adverse events. These adverse events are attributed to the omission of preventive nursing care activities, such as handwashing, patient education and maintaining a safe environment.
This commentary involves two separate patients; one with a missing lab specimen and one with a mislabeled specimen. Both cases are representative of the challenges in obtaining and appropriately tracking lab specimens and the potential harms to patients. The commentary describes best practices in managing lab specimens.