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

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

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.

early warning scores, monitoring, nursing, vital signs
0962-1067
2053-2068
Dall'ora, Chiara
4501b172-005c-4fad-86da-2d63978ffdfd
Griffiths, Peter
ac7afec1-7d72-4b83-b016-3a43e245265b
Hope, Joanna
5d49099e-13bc-49d2-88d8-48e1ec6d25fc
Barker, Hannah
d6a8b75f-432e-4825-ba6c-2db7a0e381c2
Smith, Gary
de9679ac-afc8-41bb-9cf9-9e728843fa87
Dall'ora, Chiara
4501b172-005c-4fad-86da-2d63978ffdfd
Griffiths, Peter
ac7afec1-7d72-4b83-b016-3a43e245265b
Hope, Joanna
5d49099e-13bc-49d2-88d8-48e1ec6d25fc
Barker, Hannah
d6a8b75f-432e-4825-ba6c-2db7a0e381c2
Smith, Gary
de9679ac-afc8-41bb-9cf9-9e728843fa87

Dall'ora, Chiara, Griffiths, Peter, Hope, Joanna, Barker, Hannah and Smith, Gary (2020) What is the nursing time and workload involved in taking and recording patients’ vital signs? A systematic review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 29 (13-14), 2053-2068. (doi:10.1111/jocn.15202).

Record type: Article

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.

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What is the nursing time and workload involved in taking and recording patients’ vital signs A systematic review - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 10 January 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 February 2020
Published date: July 2020
Keywords: early warning scores, monitoring, nursing, vital signs

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437219
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437219
ISSN: 0962-1067
PURE UUID: 58587f1d-a7a7-444d-9f0a-f9045207836f
ORCID for Chiara Dall'ora: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6858-3535
ORCID for Peter Griffiths: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2439-2857
ORCID for Joanna Hope: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8939-7045

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Date deposited: 22 Jan 2020 17:31
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 05:16

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Contributors

Author: Chiara Dall'ora ORCID iD
Author: Peter Griffiths ORCID iD
Author: Joanna Hope ORCID iD
Author: Hannah Barker
Author: Gary Smith

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