Pediatric Early Warning Score Systems, Nurses Perspective – A Focus Group Study

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Abstract

Purpose:

Pediatric early warning score (PEWS) systems are used to monitor pediatric patients' vital signs and facilitate the treatment of patients at risk of deteriorating. The aim of this study was to gain knowledge about nurses' experiences with PEWS and to highlight factors facilitating and impeding the use of PEWS tools in clinical practice.

Design and Methods:

An exploratory qualitative design was chosen using focus group interviews to gain a deeper understanding of nurses' experiences with PEWS. A total of five focus group interviews were conducted at three hospitals, and a qualitative meaning condensation analysis as described by Kvale and Brinkmann was performed.

Results:

Seven themes were identified, including i) lack of interdisciplinary awareness, ii) clinical judgment and PEWS—a multi-faceted approach, iii) PEWS supports a professional language, iv) monitoring the patient's – a challenge, v) PEWS helps to visualize the need for escalating care, vi) an inflexible and challenging tool, and vii) supportive tools enhance the nurses' experiences of PEWS positively.

Conclusions:

Our findings suggest that attention should be given to nurses' perceptions of how both clinical judgment and PEWS should be seen as essential in providing nurses with information about the patients' conditions. If not, the risk of failing to recognize patients' deteriorating conditions will remain as this can have an impeding influence on nurses' use of PEWS. From the nurses' perspective, medical doctors seemed unaware of their role in using PEWS.

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