Dec 22, 2011

Relevance of the expression "obs stable" in nursing observations: retrospective study

BMJ : British Medical Journal
Gregory ScottPandora Male


To ascertain whether use of the term "obs stable" with respect to the nursing observations is so liberal as to render it meaningless. Retrospective study. Three teaching hospitals in London, United Kingdom. We searched progress notes for the current admission of 46 inpatients for entries containing the phrases "obs stable" and "observations stable," and reviewed the nursing observations recorded during the 24 hour period preceding each entry containing at least one phrase. We calculated the frequency of abnormalities and of persistent abnormalities (defined as occurring in every observation) observed during these 24 hour periods, and the range of observation values over a 24 hour period if at least two observations had been recorded. We found at least one entry in 36 (78%) progress notes (95% confidence interval 66% to 90%). Observations in the 24 hours preceding an entry included at least one abnormality for 113 (71%) of 159 cases and at least one persistent abnormality for 31 (19%). The most frequently occurring abnormalities were tachypnoea (respiratory rate ≥20 breaths/min) and hypotension (systolic blood pressure <100 mm Hg). An abnormality occurred in the observations immediately preceding an entry in 42% of cases. Mean r...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Systolic Blood Pressure Measurement
Physicians, Junior
Chromosome Aberrations
Vital Signs
Nursing Records
Hypotension Adverse Event
Observation in Research
Retrospective Studies

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