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The study of nursing documentation complexities

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Cheevakasemsook A, Chapman Y, Francis K, Davies C. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2006; 12: 366–374

The study of nursing documentation complexities

This study aimed to explore complexities in nursing documentation and related factors. Nursing documentation has been one of the most important functions of nurses since the time of Florence Nightingale because it serves multiple and diverse purposes. Current health-care systems require that documentation ensures continuity of care, furnishes legal evidence of the process of care and supports evaluation of quality of patient care. However, nursing documentation has not served such objectives because of its complexities. This study explores nursing documentation complexities and related factors through both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The study used multiple methods of inquiry: in-depth interviewing; participant observation; nominal group processing; focus group meetings; time and motion study of nursing activities; and auditing of completeness of nursing documentation. Complexities in nursing documentation include three aspects: disruption, incompleteness and inappropriate charting. Related factors that influenced documentation comprised: limited nurses’ competence, motivation and confidence; ineffective nursing procedures; and inadequate nursing audit, supervision and staff development. These findings suggest that complexities in nursing documentation require extensive resolution and implicitly dictate strategies for nurse managers and nurses to take part in solving these complicated obstacles.

Keywords: mixed methods; nursing documentation; nursing practice

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Lecturer, Adult and Geriatric Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing, St Louis College, Yannawa, Bangkok, Thailand 2: Professor of Rural Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Gippsland Campus, Churchill, Victoria, Australia 3: Lecturer in Nursing, School of Clinical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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