Exerting Capacity: Bedside RNs Talk About Patient Safety

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Abstract

Patient safety has been at the forefront of nursing research since the release of the Institute of Medicine’s report estimating the number of preventable adverse events in hospital settings; yet no research to date has incorporated the perspectives of bedside nurses using classical grounded theory (CGT) methodology. This CGT study explored the perceptions of bedside registered nurses regarding patient safety in adult acute care hospitals. Data analysis used three techniques unique to CGT—the constant comparative method, coding, and memoing—to explore the values, realities, and beliefs of bedside nurses about patient safety. The analysis resulted in a substantive theory, Exerting Capacity, which explained how bedside nurses balance the demands of keeping their patients safe. Exerting Capacity has implications for health care organization leaders, nursing leaders, and bedside nurses; it also has indications for future research into the concept of patient safety.

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