Adverse events in acute care: an integrative literature review

Res Nurs Health. 2003 Oct;26(5):398-408. doi: 10.1002/nur.10103.


An integrative literature review was conducted to investigate studies on adverse events reported in medical, health services, and nursing literature. The review was guided by the method proposed by Jackson (1980) and Ganong (1987). Three questions shaped the review: (a) What terms are used to denote adverse events? (b) What purposes drive adverse events research? and (c) What data sources are used to study adverse events? Adverse events was the dominant term, the study of adverse events as an outcome variable was the prevailing research purpose, and monitoring or screening the patient clinical record and self-reported incidents by health care professionals were the main data sources. Future research is recommended to conceptualize and study adverse events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease / therapy*
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors* / adverse effects
  • Medical Errors* / methods
  • Medical Errors* / prevention & control
  • Medical Errors* / psychology
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Research Design
  • Risk Management
  • Safety Management