“Delirium: Why Are Nurses Confused?” by Baker et al.

Introductory Details

The article reviewed in this paper is titled “Delirium: Why are nurses confused?” It was written by Baker, Taggart, Nivens, and Tillman and published in MedSurg Nursing journal in 2015. The article addresses the issues related to delirium and seeks to estimate the levels of existing knowledge, risk factors, experiences, and performance in nurses in relation to the medical condition.

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Literature Review Summary

The literature review section of the article identifies delirium as a serious, costly, and potentially preventable complication characterized by acute short-term disturbances of consciousness bringing about the onset of inattention, disorganized thinking, and altered levels of perception (Baker et al., 2015). The literature review begins by stating the databases used to collect the information presented in the section. The article sources included MEDLINE, CINAHL, and ProQuest online depositories. Inclusion and exclusion criteria along with keywords used in the search are listed below. First, Baker et al. (2015) identify the gaps in the existing research by stating that many articles focus on the benefits of educational interventions rather than on the evaluation of existing delirium knowledge in nurses. However, other identified studies provide the knowledge on that subject. According to the literature findings, 81.9% of nurses passed on general delirium knowledge questions, while only 36.3% managed to do so on risk factors.

Delirium and dementia are related medical conditions, which further complicates the treatment of both for nurses. The literature review found that only 41% of nurses could accurately differentiate between the two conditions. Baker et al. (2015) claim that one of the primary reasons, in addition to the lack of knowledge, involves the lack of time to spare for making an accurate diagnosis. That factor, in addition to very little formal knowledge, explains why only 13% of all patients with delirium are accurately diagnosed. Facts provided by the author succeed in providing a greater scope for the problem while addressing the major issues regarding dementia: the lack of knowledge, lack of a suitable operational framework, and the lack of time.

Personal Reflections

I was intrigued to learn about the state of care for patients with dementia. The results of the research were morbidly fascinating, as I had no idea the situation was so dire. Apparently, dementia is a much more prevalent issue in medical care, especially in geriatric patients. The only reason why it is not at the forefront of healthcare research is because of how often it remains undiagnosed. According to Baker et al. (2015), 87% of all cases in patients are missed by their treating nurses. Seeing these facts in a cohesive literature review successfully gets the reader to understand the importance of the problem as well as reasons why an intervention is required to improve the situation. Based on the information provided in the section of the article, I could only conclude that a single hospital-wide intervention will not provide significant results in the long-term perspective. The appropriate choice of action would include redefining the entire system of nursing education, providing theoretical and practical knowledge on delirium.

A useful strategy I learned from this literature review is to follow the gradual build-up of facts culminating in statistics about the effectiveness of nursing work. The evaluation of education, frameworks, and time constraints gave me a better insight on the reasons behind such a poor performance regarding delirium, which made the transition to the percentages of diagnosed cases more logical. Literature reviews are important not only for the sake of informing the initial research efforts, but also for making the audience understand the studied issue better.


Baker, N., Taggart, H., Nivens, A. & Tillman, P. (2015). Delirium: Why are nurses confused? MedSurg Nursing, 24(1), 15-22.

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