Missed nursing care: a concept analysis

J Adv Nurs. 2009 Jul;65(7):1509-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2009.05027.x. Epub 2009 May 9.


Aim: This paper is a report of the analysis of the concept of missed nursing care.

Background: According to patient safety literature, missed nursing care is an error of omission. This concept has been conspicuously absent in quality and patient safety literature, with individual aspects of nursing care left undone given only occasional mention.

Method: An 8-step method of concept analysis - select concept, determine purpose, identify uses, define attributes, identify model case, describe related and contrary cases, identify antecedents and consequences and define empirical referents - was used to examine the concept of missed nursing care. The sources for the analysis were identified by systematic searches of the World Wide Web, MEDLINE, CINAHL and reference lists of related journal articles with a timeline of 1970 to April 2008.

Findings: Missed nursing care, conceptualized within the Missed Nursing Care Model, is defined as any aspect of required patient care that is omitted (either in part or in whole) or delayed. Various attribute categories reported by nurses in acute care settings contribute to missed nursing care: (1) antecedents that catalyse the need for a decision about priorities; (2) elements of the nursing process and (3) internal perceptions and values of the nurse. Multiple elements in the nursing environment and internal to nurses influence whether needed nursing care is provided.

Conclusion: Missed care as conceptualized within the Missed Care Model is a universal phenomenon. The concept is expected to occur across all cultures and countries, thus being international in scope.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Decision Making
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Safety Management / standards*