Nurses' decision-making in collecting information for the assessment of patients' nursing problems

Tarja Junnola, Elina Eriksson, Sanna Salanterä, Sirkka Lauri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


• The paper addresses two questions: Firstly, what kind of information do nurses acquire from cancer patients for purposes of judging their patients' problems and preparing a care plan? Secondly, how systematically do nurses proceed in the decision-making process from the formulation of initial assumptions about the patient's situation to the final definition of problems? • The instrument used for data collection was a computer-simulated case description compiled by a team of four nursing researchers and one medical researcher. The case description was based on a real patient history. • The sample consisted of 107 Registered Nurses on four oncology, two internal medicine and five surgical wards of two central university hospitals in Finland. Data were collected in autumn 1998 and spring 1999 using a laptop computer and a tape recorder. • The four most important problems identified by nurses at baseline were pain (85%), pain medication (59%), family situation (66%) and spread of cancer (49%). Presented with a list of 23 options, they obtained additional information on average on 13 areas. Almost one-third collected information from 16 to 22 areas. On average nurses identified 12 of the 28 nursing problems specified. A statistically significant association was observed between information acquisition and problem definition in seven different variables. These had to do with pain, general condition and prognosis. • Nurses adequately prioritized their patients' problems and systematically collected data on those problems. On the other hand they also identified a number of problems that were not relevant to the situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-196
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Assessment
  • Computer-simulated case
  • Decision-making
  • Knowledge-base

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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