Why don't nurses consistently take patient respiratory rates?
Br J Nurs. 2014 Apr 24-May 7;23(8):414-8
Authors: Ansell H, Meyer A, Thompson S
This is an investigation into nurses' practice of when they would not take and record a patient's respiratory rate. It reports results of qualitative, descriptive research involving interviews with ten ward nurses from three hospitals in New Zealand. Results affirm that, despite it being the most sensitive vital sign for managing patients, nurses acknowledged circumstances in which respiratory rate taking was missed. Reasons were complex and, contrary to expectations, not always associated with the introduction of technology to record other vital signs. Time pressures, work interruptions and rationalised judgements made by experienced nurses all contributed to incidences of missed respiratory rate taking. It is concluded that patient respiratory rate measures do not seem to be highly valued, calling into questions nurses' level of understanding of respiratory physiology, as well as the extent to which intuitive nursing practice is supported by critical analysis.
PMID: 24763296 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]