Unsafe nursing documentation: A qualitative content analysis

Ali Tajabadi, Fazlollah Ahmadi, Afsaneh Sadooghi Asl, M Vaismoradi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


BackgroundNursing documentation as a pivotal part of nursing care has many implications for patient care in terms of safety and ethics.ObjectivesTo explore factors influencing nursing documentation from nurses’ perspectives in the Iranian nursing context.MethodsThis qualitative study was carried out using a qualitative content analysis of data collected from 2018 to 2019 in two urban areas of Iran. Semi-structured interviews (n = 15), observations, and reviews of patients’ medical files were used for data collection.Ethical considerationsThis study was conducted in accordance with the ethical principles of research and regulations in terms of confidentiality of data, anonymity, and provision of informed consent.FindingsThe main theme of this study was “unsafe documentation.” Two categories, “types of errors in reporting” and “reasons of errors in reporting,” and 12 subcategories were developed indicating factors influencing nursing documentation in the Iranian nursing context.ConclusionIn general, individual, organizational, and national factors affected nursing documentation in Iran. In this respect, hiring more nurses, application of reforms in the healthcare management structure, devising appropriate regulations regarding division of labor, constant education of healthcare staff, establishment of clinical governance, improvement of interpersonal relationships, development of hardware and software techniques for documentation, and provision of support should be done to improve the quality of nursing documentation. The above-mentioned suggestions can help nurses with a safe, ethical, lawful, and reliable documentation in nursing practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1224
Number of pages12
JournalNursing Ethics
Issue number5
Early online date02 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2020


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