What Nursing Students Can Learn from Missed Patient Care Research

As a potential nursing student, you may be familiar with horror stories your friends and family may have had while interacting with nurses- especially in the ER. Though these stories of neglect, lack of compassion, and low-quality care may be rare, they are still relevant. Missed nursing care, described as any aspect of required patient care that is omitted (either in part or in whole) or delayed, appears to be occurring on a relatively regular basis in hospitals throughout the United States.

Patient safety errors are typically divided into two categories: errors of commission (i.e., giving the wrong medication, hanging the incorrect blood) and errors of omission (i.e., not giving a medication, failing to feed a patient.) Missed nursing care involves errors of omission. A recent studyshows that the reasons for missed patient care are consistent across hospitals of various sizes and types.

The reason cited most often is inadequate labor or staff resources, followed by lack of materials and communication problems. Other reasons for missed care are peer pressure and team norms. Some nurses claim that when they consult with team members about not completing certain aspects of care, it’s not uncommon for their peers to shrug them off and tell them ‘not to worry about it.’

Nursing students nationwide, hoping to fill these gaps in the labor force, can rise above these issues and promote quality care and compassion in their work environments. Nurses are responsible for the care they provide to their patients – including quality and consistency. They are the only ones who can address the problem of missed or incomplete care, and the only way to solve the problem of missed care is to discuss the issue openly and provide your team with the means to solve the problem.