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What is the nursing time and workload involved in taking and recording patients' vital signs? A systematic review.

Dall'Ora, C., Griffiths, P., Hope, J., Barker, H. and Smith, G. B., 2020. What is the nursing time and workload involved in taking and recording patients' vital signs? A systematic review. Journal of Clinical Nursing. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1111/jocn.15202

Abstract

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To synthesise evidence regarding the time nurses take to monitor and record vital signs observations and to calculate early warning scores. BACKGROUND: While the importance of vital signs' monitoring is increasingly highlighted as a fundamental means of maintaining patient safety and avoiding patient deterioration, the time and associated workload involved in vital signs activities for nurses are currently unknown. DESIGN: Systematic review. METHODS: A literature search was performed up to 17 December 2019 in CINAHL, Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library using the following terms: vital signs; monitoring; surveillance; observation; recording; early warning scores; workload; time; and nursing. We included studies performed in secondary or tertiary ward settings, where vital signs activities were performed by nurses, and we excluded qualitative studies and any research conducted exclusively in paediatric or maternity settings. The study methods were compliant with the PRISMA checklist. RESULTS: Of 1,277 articles, we included 16 papers. Studies described taking vital signs observations as the time to measure/collect vital signs and time to record/document vital signs. As well as mean times being variable between studies, there was considerable variation in the time taken within some studies as standard deviations were high. Documenting vital signs observations electronically at the bedside was faster than documenting vital signs away from the bed. CONCLUSIONS: Variation in the method(s) of vital signs measurement, the timing of entry into the patient record, the method of recording and the calculation of early warning scores values across the literature make direct comparisons of their influence on total time taken difficult or impossible. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: There is a very limited body of research that might inform workload planning around vital signs observations. This uncertainty means the resource implications of any recommendation to change the frequency of observations associated with early warning scores are unknown.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0962-1067
Additional Information:This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [Health Services & Delivery programme (Grant Number 17/05/03)].
Uncontrolled Keywords:early warning scores ; monitoring ; nursing ; vital signs
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:33396
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:11 Feb 2020 15:48
Last Modified:11 Feb 2020 15:48

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