The impact of nursing shortages on neonatal care

Added on : 26 July 2019

By: Quality of Care Network secretariat

The BMJ just published ‘Missed nursing care in newborn units’, a study on the effects of nursing shortages on delivery of neonatal care in low/middle-income countries.

Nurses are essential to the delivery of safe and effective care, but nurse shortages and high patient workloads may result in missed care.


The study examines nursing care delivered to sick newborns in six health facilities in Nairobi, Kenya, and identifies missed care using direct observational methods.


The study finds that a significant proportion of nursing care is missed with potentially serious effects on patient safety and outcomes in this LMIC setting and that given that nurses caring for fewer babies on average performed more of the expected tasks, addressing nursing is key to ensuring delivery of essential aspects of care as part of improving quality and safety.