Missed Nursing Care in Australia: Exploring the contributing factors

Sarah Mills, Maree Duddle

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Nurses are increasingly ending their shifts with outstanding tasks and missing vital aspects of patient care. Research has indicated that this could have a detrimental effect on both nurse and patient outcomes. The connection between inadequate staffing levels and missed nursing care is well documented in the research. However, other contributing factors leading to missed nursing care remain uncertain. This scoping review seeks to identify the contributing factors to missed nursing care in an Australian context.

    To determine the contributing factors to missed nursing care by registered nurses in Australian hospitals.

    MEDLINE, CINAHL, and PubMed were searched for primary and secondary research articles. A scoping review was conducted using the Joanna Briggs Institute methodology for scoping reviews. Data from the studies was analysed by two independent reviewers and presented with a narrative synthesis of the findings.

    Seventeen studies were conducted in Australia. The main contributing factors to missed nursing care were: Inadequate staffing, environmental factors, and urgent situations. Nurses’ poor insight into personal and professional accountability was also found to contribute to missed nursing care.

    This review adds an important perspective to the impact of staffing on missed nursing care due to the mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in Australia, which has not been investigated in other countries. It found that mandated nurse-to-patient ratios can lead to a reduction in missed nursing care.

    Further research is required into mandated nurse-to-patient ratios and a nurse's personal and professional accountability and missed nursing care.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)125-135
    Number of pages11
    JournalCollegian (Royal College of Nursing, Australia)
    Issue number1
    Early online date21 Jul 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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