Newly qualified Saudi nurses' ability to recognize the deteriorating child in hospital

Daifallah Al-Thubaity, Susan Williamson, Ralph Leavey, Lyvonne N Tume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: It is recognized that nurses' failure to recognize and respond promptly to deterioration in children's physiological status can result in increased morbidity and mortality.

AIM: The aim of this study was to explore the ability of Saudi-educated, newly qualified nurses, working in paediatric wards, to recognize children's deterioration.

METHODS: A pilot study was carried out to assess nurses' responses to three clinical vignettes (deteriorating child, improving child and ambiguous scenarios). The nurses' ability to make a correct identification was captured using a 'Think Aloud' approach and quantified using a visual analogue scale.

RESULTS: Twenty-seven nurses in two geographical regions in Saudi Arabia participated. Only half the nurses (51·8%) correctly identified the deteriorating child vignette. Of those who could not, 37% were unsure and 11% responded incorrectly. No nurses correctly identified all three vignettes, and four nurses (15%) responded incorrectly to all vignettes.

CONCLUSIONS: The recognition of the deteriorating child is complex, and even in non-stressful simulated scenarios using vignettes, many newly qualified nurses working with children failed to recognize clear signs of deterioration. A focused (culturally specific) educational intervention is being developed to target this, taking into account Saudi nurses' perceived education and training needs.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Newly qualified nurses working in paediatric wards frequently find it difficult to identify the deteriorating child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-267
Number of pages5
JournalNursing in Critical Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Competence/standards
  • Clinical Deterioration
  • Critical Care Nursing/standards
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic/standards
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital/education
  • Pilot Projects
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Saudi Arabia


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