Nursing surveillance for deterioration in pediatric patients: An integrative review

James R. Stotts, Audrey Lyndon, Garrett K. Chan, Arpi Bekmezian, Roberta S. Rehm

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Problem: Adverse events occur in up to 19% of pediatric hospitalized patients, often associated with delays in recognition or treatment. While early detection is recognized as a primary determinant of recovery from deterioration, most research has focused on profiling patient risk and testing interventions, and less on factors that impact surveillance efficacy. This integrative review explored actions and factors that influence the quality of pediatric nursing surveillance. Eligibility criteria: Original research on nursing surveillance, escalation of care, or cardiopulmonary deterioration in hospitalized pediatric patients in non-critical environments, published in English in peer reviewed journals. Sample: Twenty-four studies from a literature search within the databases of CINAHL, PubMed, and Web of Science were evaluated and synthesized using a socio-technical systems theory framework. Study quality was assessed using The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Results: Assessment, documentation, decision-making, intervening and communicating were identified as activities associated with surveillance of deterioration. Factors that influenced nurses' detection of deterioration were patient acuity, nurse education, experience, expertise and confidence, staffing, standardized assessment and communication tools, availability of emergency services, team composition and opportunities for multidisciplinary care planning. Conclusions: Research provides insight into some aspects of nursing surveillance but does not adequately explore factors that affect clinical data interpretation and synthesis, and role integration between nurse and parents, and nurse and other clinicians on surveillance of clinical stability. Implications: Research is needed to enhance understanding of the contextual factors that impact nursing surveillance to inform intervention design to support nurses' timely recognition and mitigation of clinical deterioration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Detection
  • Deterioration
  • Nursing surveillance
  • Pediatric
  • Recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


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