Missed Nursing Care in Hospital Environments

Statement of the Problem

The purpose of writing this position paper is to inform the American Nurses Association (ANA) about a highly important problem of missed nursing care in hospital environments, discuss implications of this problem for the nursing profession and patient outcomes, and to seek legislative support from the State Government Affairs program. First of all, it is essential to state that clinical nurses have the direct impact on the well-being and health outcomes of their patients.

Delivering a high-quality care is an integral part of the clinical nurse’s routine. Thus, when some of the duties and responsibilities are omitted or tasks left unfinished, considerable negative consequences arise. Despite the fact that nursing professionals are directly responsible for the consequences of their work, it is also apparent that their performance is considerably affected by the work setting, clinical environments, organizational culture in clinics, appropriate staff management, and several other factors (Carthon, Lasater, Sloane, & Kutney-Lee, 2015). Therefore, it could be stated with certainty that a considerably complex problem is encountered in the case of missed care.

Why the Support is Needed

We seek for the American Nurses Association’s support for the following reasons:

  1. Since it is statistically proven that 9 out of 10 nurses miss essential care activities each shift at least to some extent, it is apparent that the problem of missing care is highly demanded to be recognized on state and federal levels (Lake, Germack, & Viscardi, 2016)
  2. There are various factors that influence the development of unfinished nursing care, including the insufficient qualification of nursing staff, but, aside from that, hospitals often do not have enough flexibility to manage nurses’ shifts more efficiently (Carthon et al., 2015)
  3. Raising the awareness about the problem of missed care on state and federal levels as well as financial support from the ANA’a State Government Affairs program will help to improve the overall public health sector

Implication for the Nursing Profession and Patients

If the desired support is provided, the implications for the nursing profession and patient outcomes will be evident. First of all, as it is mentioned in the research by Lake et al. (2016), “nurses reported missing 2.71 of 12 essential care activities per shift” (p. 539). Therefore, one of the primary implications for the nursing profession will be the decrease of unfinished care tasks and the overall improvement of the nurses’ professionalism. Concerning the patient outcomes, the implications are apparent and highly desired since the research by Carthon et al. directly links missed care to the increase of hospital readmissions, and the article by Lake et al. (2016) identifies an evident correlation between missed care and poor patient experience in hospitals.


Finally, it is essential to provide two recommendations, which will serve as guidelines of what is desired to be implemented. Firstly, it is of high importance to launch a state or federal-level policy that will aim to raise the awareness about the consequences of missed nursing care and to fulfill educational needs of nursing professionals who consider their skills to be improved. Secondly, it is possible to implement the program of more precise control over the completion of care delivery tasks in hospitals. These recommendations are based on the profound research in scholarly literature and evidence-based practice, and thus they can guide the implementation of the federal program guided by the ANA.


Carthon, J. M. B., Lasater, K. B., Sloane, D. M., & Kutney-Lee, A. (2015). The quality of hospital work environments and missed nursing care is linked to heart failure readmissions: A cross-sectional study of US hospitals. BMJ Quality & Safety, 24(4), 255-263.

Lake, E. T., Germack, H. D., & Viscardi, M. K. (2016). Missed nursing care is linked to patient satisfaction: a cross-sectional study of US hospitals. BMJ Quality & Safety, 25(7), 535-543.