Pediatric Nursing Experience and Education Research


The paper is devoted to the analysis of the research article focused on the peculiarities of error reporting in pediatric nursing. The study is aimed at analyzing the way that nurses’ levels of professional experience and education impact the frequency of medication mistakes and the quality of care they provide. Also, the degree to which they are associated with different types of mistakes is studied.

Using the data from 372 self-report surveys and nurses’ personal characteristics, the researchers found no connections between education levels and mistake frequency. However, high nursing experience levels were associated with less severe mistakes. The results have numerous implications and can form the basis of strategies that optimize approaches to mistake reporting. Despite its limitations concerning sample selection, the study is practice-oriented and can be improved in the future.


The article by Sears, O’Brien-Pallas, Stevens, and Murphy (2016) presents the authors’ research devoted to medication administration mistakes in pediatric nursing. The research problem relates to the prevalence of medication errors and the need to understand factors that reduce their frequency, and these points are supported by a literature review. The research questions refer to the links between nurses’ characteristics and error frequency, the types of errors, and care quality. The authors’ hypothesis was that nurse experience and academic progress is associated with less frequent and severe mistakes. It was partially supported by the results of a survey completed by 372 Canadian nurses.

The Problem

The research problem is clearly stated in the chosen study since the researchers discuss it with the help of statistical data and focus on its particular elements and the existing body of knowledge. Sears et al. (2016) cite the review by Wilkins and Shields presented in 2008 to prove that medication mistakes are among the most common hospital events with adverse outcomes. Importantly, when stating the problem, the researchers focus on the peculiar features of pediatric medication mistakes, such as difficulties with dosage calculations. The problem’s practical importance cannot be overstated because studying the predictors of medication mistakes contributes to the quality of pediatric nursing care and allows designing new strategies for error prevention.

Concerning its purpose, the study is aimed at giving insight into the role of the levels of professional experience and education in medication mistakes affecting underage patients. According to the researchers’ hypothesis, more experienced and educated pediatric nurses are less likely to make medication mistakes, especially those with severe consequences for clients. To make the key terms clearer for the readers, the researchers provide a few definitions to explain such terms as “pediatric medication administration errors” and “error severity” (Sears et al., 2016, p. e284).

Literature Review

The article being analyzed contains a well-organized literature review that presents different subtopics one by one. The researchers use eight sources to introduce the topic of medication mistakes in healthcare for children. In addition, they thoroughly review and compare the findings of more than twenty peer-reviewed studies to identify the key research trends related to healthcare specialists’ education, error frequency, experience levels, and error severity. The cited sources are pertinent to the study since they are from high-quality nursing and medical journals.

The literature review is quite narrow, and all subtopics strictly relate to the chosen research questions. For instance, all themes listed in the literature review section, such as error frequency, reflect the previously identified research variables. This feature makes the literature review more readable and improves an understanding of the chosen research problem. One more factor that is indicative of the source’s quality is the up-to-dateness of references – the oldest source included in the review is dated 2003. The researchers seem to be impartial even though they cite some of their previous works to provide data on error frequency by the type of mistake.

Design and Procedures

To prove the credibility of their conclusions, the researchers pay focused attention to the issues of methodology in their article. The source presents and discusses the results of a quantitative descriptive study using the prospective design. The research is original because it is not aimed at rechecking the conclusions presented in the previous studies in the field. However, the authors did not perform participant data collection procedures – all data were taken from one of their previous works devoted to nursing turnover in Canada.

As for measurement tools, the information retrieved from another study was collected using a self-report questionnaire for pediatric nurses. The procedure for the collection of data was structured in the following way: emergency and surgical nurses were required to report any medical mistakes and their consequences immediately. The reports also included nurses’ demographic and professional data. Considering that all data came from another study focused on different research questions, no pilot studies to check the hypothesis of Sears et al. (2016) were conducted.

Two independent variables, such as “the level of experience” and “the level of education,” were used during data retrieval and analysis (Sears et al., 2016, p. e285). The dependent ones were presented by “the frequency of error, the severity of the error, and the quality of nursing care” (Sears et al., 2016, p. e285). In order to choose relevant data from the previous study, the researchers used a combination of random and convenience sampling techniques. In the initial study, random sampling was used to choose healthcare units to conduct surveys. For the purpose of the analyzed research, preference was given to convenience sampling.

Data Analysis and Presentation

The analysis of data was performed using a range of tools popular among modern researchers. Two data sets for the same medical units collected with an interval of three months were statistically analyzed with the help of SPSS 15. With the help of the software, the researchers conducted some descriptive statistical tests, performed a Poisson regression analysis, and used certain multiple-comparison corrections (Sears et al., 2016).

The retrieved findings are fully aligned with the purpose, but the hypothesis is supported only partially. For instance, contrary to the authors’ expectations, no links between education levels and such dependent variables as error frequency and severity were identified. The feature that speaks in favor of the researchers’ professionalism is the attention paid to the discussion of limitations. Among them, the authors list the sample size, data credibility (the mistakes were self-reported), and the detrimental effects of data clustering.


The conclusions of the study provide direct answers to the used research questions and, therefore, relate to the original purpose. The researchers use a specific section to discuss implications and provide recommendations such as the need to increase error reporting. The paper seems to be practice-oriented, and it is possible to suggest that the results can also be used to optimize hospital reporting systems in general.

The results may affect both pediatric nurses and their patients in a positive way. In terms of potential improvement areas, it could be important to use a randomly selected sample to ensure credibility. The actual sample was appropriate for the study in matters of size and composition, but the data was collected a few years ago, which was a disadvantage. In general, the article can be considered a valuable source that analyzes the problems of medication mistakes and error reporting rates. Considering the need to understand the root of the problem, further research can be devoted to pediatric nurses’ perceptions of mistake reporting and its consequences.


Sears, K., O’Brien-Pallas, L., Stevens, B., & Murphy, G. T. (2016). The relationship between nursing experience and education and the occurrence of reported pediatric medication administration errors. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 31(4), e283-e290. Web.