Reading, understanding, and appreciating original nursing research literature is essential for evidence-based practice (AACN, 2008; QSEN, 2018). This assignment provides a learning activity for students to read an original research study and complete a worksheet to demonstrate understanding of the study purpose, design, sample, data collection, analysis, limitations, conclusions, and the importance of reading research literature.
This assignment enables the student to meet the following Course Outcomes.
CO1: Examine the sources of evidence that contribute to professional nursing practice. (PO 7)
CO2: Apply research principles to the interpretation of the content of published research studies. (POs 4 & 8)
CO4: Evaluate published nursing research for credibility and significance related to evidence-based practice. (POs 4, 8)
CO5: Recognize the role of research findings in evidence-based practice. (POs 7 & 8)
Submit the completed RRL Worksheet
Read over each of the following directions, the required Reading Research Literature worksheet, and grading rubric.
Review the following link which contains a tutorial for your Week 6 Assignment. Tutorial may look slightly different session to session. Grading criteria and rubric will be the same. Click here for transcript. (Links to an external site.)
Download and complete the required Reading Research Literature (RRL) worksheet (Links to an external site.). This must be used.
Download or access the required article below. This must be used.
Diacon, A. & Bell, J. (2014). Investigating the recording and accuracy of fluid balance monitoring in critically ill patients. Southern African Journal of Critical Care, 30(2), 55-57. https://chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsdoj&AN=edsdoj.2db92a9d728747eaa508e67b298f67bd&site=eds-live&scope=site (Links to an external site.)
This assignment contains:
Purpose of the Study: Using information from the required article and your own words, summarize the purpose of the study. Describe what the study is about.
Research & Design: Using information from the required article and your own words, summarize the description of the type of research and the design of the study. Include how it supports the purpose (aim or intent) of the study.
Sample: Using information from the required article and your own words, summarize the population (sample) for the study; include key characteristics, sample size, sampling technique.
Data Collection: Using information from the required article and your own words, summarize one data that was collected and how the data was collected from the study.
Data Analysis: Using information from the required article and your own words, summarize one of the data analysis/ tests performed or one method of data analysis from the study; include what you know/learned about the descriptive or statistical test or data analysis method.
Limitations: Using information from the required article and your own words, summarize one limitation reported in the study.
Findings/Discussion: Using information from the required article and your own words, summarize one of the authors’ findings/discussion reported in the study. Include one interesting detail you learned from reading the study.
Reading Research Literature: Summarize why it is important for you to read and understand research literature. Summarize what you learned from completing the reading research literature activity worksheet.
You are required to complete the worksheet using the productivity tools required by Chamberlain University, which is Microsoft Office Word 2013 (or later version), or Windows and Office 2011 (or later version) for MAC. You must save the file in the “.docx” format. Do NOT save as Word Pad. A later version of the productivity tool includes Office 365, which is available to Chamberlain students for FREE by downloading from the student portal at http://my.chamberlain.edu (Links to an external site.). Click on the envelope at the top of the page.
Submit the completed Reading Research Literature Worksheet to the Week 6 Assignment.
Investigating the recording and accuracy of fluid balance
monitoring in critically ill patients A Diacon, MCur; J Bell,’ 3 MCur, BCur, PGDN
1 Division o f Nursing, Faculty o f Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
3 TASK Applied Science, Karl Bremer Hospital, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa
3 Department o f Nursing Science, School o f Clinical Care Sciences, Faculty o f Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University,
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Corresponding author: A Diacon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Background. The accurate assessment o f flu id balance data collected during physical assessment as well as during monitoring and
record-keeping forms an essential part of the baseline patient information tha t guides medical and nursing interventions aimed at
achieving physiological stability in patients. An informal audit o f 24-hour fluid balance records in a local intensive care unit (ICU) showed
that seven out of ten flu id balance calculations were incorrect.
Objective. To identify and describe current clinical nursing practice in fluid balance monitoring and measurement accuracy in ICUs,
conducted as part of a broader study in partial fu lfilm ent of a Master o f Nursing degree.
Methods. A quantitative approach utilis ing a descriptive, exploratory study design was applied. An audit of 103 ICU records was
conducted to establish the current practices and accuracy in recording o f flu id balance monitoring. Data were collected using a
purpose-designed tool based on relevant literature and practice experience.
Results. Of the original recorded fluid balance calculations, 79% deviated by more than 50 mL from the audited calculations. Further-
more, a significant relationship was shown between inaccurate fluid balance calculation and administration of diuretics (p=0.01). Conclusion. The majority o f flu id balance records were incorrectly calculated.
S AfrJCrit Care 2014;30(2):55-57. DOI:10.7196/SAJCC.193
M ain ta in ing a balance between flu id intake and
output plays an im portant role in the management
o f a crit ica lly ill patient. The accurate assessment
o f the flu id balance data collected during physical
assessment as well as during m onitoring activities
and record-keeping forms an essential part o f the baseline patient
in fo rm ation tha t guides medical and nursing in terventions to
achieve physiological stability in a patient. Changes in a critically ill
patient’s fluid balance can complicate the patient’s clinical condition.
It is, therefore, necessary that flu id balance parameters are accu-
rately monitored and recorded for all patients in intensive care units
A daily observation sheet is used to record all vital signs, nursing
interventions, medical procedures and the fluid balance for each
24-h period of a day. The fluid balance record comprises records of
the intake and output of fluids by a patient over a 24-h period. The
difference between the volumes is calculated to provide the 24-h
fluid balance.121 The monitoring of a patient’s fluid balance is of great
importance in understanding and managing a patient’s clinical status
and, as such, accurate monitoring and recording of fluid balance data
plays an essential role in patient care management.131
Several studies have considered the relationship between
fluid imbalances and patient outcomes in critical care. The Sepsis
Occurrence in Acutely III Patients (SOAP) study by Vincent et al.,m
conducted across 198 ICUs in Europe in 2002, determined that a
positive flu id balance is a strong prognostic factor for death in criti-
cally ill patients. Similarly, research by Alsous et a/.,151 Boyd et al.m
and Payen et o/.I7] concluded that a more positive fluid balance
is associated w ith an increased risk o f mortality in patients w ith
septic shock or acute renal failure. Furthermore, Rosenberg et a/.181
determined that a cumulative negative fluid balance in patients
w ith acute lung in jury is associated w ith lower mortality. The
conclusions offered by these studies require that monitoring and
recording of flu id balance data must be complete and accurate,
w ith assessment o f a patient’s fluid balance being recognised as an
important component o f nursing any critically ill patient.
In South Africa (SA), the practice of a registered nurse is regulated
by the Scope of Practice drawn up by the SA Nursing Council.191
Chapter 2, section 2(i) of these regulations identifies that fluid balance
monitoring is part of the scope o f practice of a registered nurse.
Therefore, a registered nurse working in a critical care environment
is responsible and accountable for the accurate recording and
calculation of fluid balance when caring for and managing a critically
ill patient. Managing a patient’s fluid balance is as equally important
as carrying out any other patient care activity for the critically ill, such
as administering a medication prescription or providing nutrition.121
Fluid balance management in ICU patients is complex. Monitoring
and measurement of fluid balance requires close attention to ensure
that current methods are applied accurately and consistently to
provide the most complete data, upon which patient management
decisions can be based.
Based on practice experience and underpinned by an informal
audit of 24-h fluid balance charts in a local ICU, where seven out of
ten calculated totals were incorrect, the research question posed was:
What are the current practices o f registered nurses in ICUs w ith regard
to fluid balance monitoring?
Methods A quan tita tive approach u tilis ing an
exploratory, descriptive study design was
applied. The study was conducted in ICUs
across three purposively selected hospitals
of one private sector hospital group. The
ICUs of these hospitals were similar in terms
of their patient admission profiles, with the
same nursing documentation and policies
applied at all three hospitals.
An audit tool was developed from
relevant literature and clinical experience
to assess particular aspects of the sampled
fluid balance records. Two critical care nurse
experts evaluated the content and face
validity of the audit tool; no changes were
required. A pretest of the audit tool was
conducted at one additional ICU of the same
hospital group to determine the accuracy
and relevance of the measurements;
no changes were required. The pretest
data were not included in the study data.
A statistician determined the tool to be
appropriate and adequate for data collection
and analysis purposes.
Ethical approval for the study was
obtained from the Human Research Ethics
Committee at the Faculty of Medicine and
Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University,
as well as the relevant committee of the
The population for this study was critical
care patient records. The study sample was
drawn from fluid balance records according
to the following inclusion criteria:
• Nursing records of admissions to ICUs for
the first 48 h of the patient’s stay, from
1 July to 31 December 2011
• Patients over the age of 18 years as per
the definition of an adult in the Children’s
Act No. 38 of 20051’01
• Patients classified as ‘intensive care’:
activity 1 or 2 on the patient classification
system of this hospital group. This
classification was used by the doctor
to determine financial charges to the
patient. No w ritten policy regarding
this classification was available from the
A simple random sampling technique was
implemented to select patient records for
the audit: all the admission numbers of
patients meeting the inclusion criteria were
identified through the hospital informa-
tion system and admission record book
of the ICU. The patient record file that
was connected w ith every third patient
admission number was drawn until the
required sample was achieved. The sample
size was calculated to ensure adequate
precision in population estimates, using 95%
confidence intervals (CIs). A sample size of 80
fluid balance records would have resulted in
6% precision in the 95% Cl width, assuming
a 10% error rate in the calculation ofthefluid
balance. This was well within the accepted
precision of between 5% and 10%. A sample
size of N= 103 was selected and divided
specifically among the various units under
the guidance of the statistician (Table 1).
Descriptive statistics were recorded and
the Mann-Whitney U-test was used to test
associations between recorded variables
and fluid balance calculation accuracy.
Data were recorded on the study audit
tool by the researcher and a field worker
together in the three hospitals. The fluid
balance calculation recorded in each
patient record for a 24-h period during
the first 48 h of a patient’s stay was noted
on the audit tool. A control calculation of
each recorded fluid balance total was done
by the researcher and verified by the field
worker. These audited calculations were
recorded in the audit tool. The deviation
between the original calculations and the
audited calculations was determined and
In addition to the fluid balance
calculation, baseline vital sign data, modes
of fluid output (e.g. diarrhoea), specific
data regarding the administration of blood
products, and the number of continuous
intravenous infusions were recorded on
the audit tool.
Results 24-h calculated fluid balance totals The original recorded 24-h fluid balance
total was compared with the audited fluid
balance total performed by the researcher
and field worker. The difference in calcula-
tion was referred to as the deviation in fluid
balance calculation, and is presented in
Table 2 for descriptive reasons.
In the audit of 103 fluid balance
documents, a total of 71 (68.9%) recorded
calculated fluid balance totals were within
a 500 mL deviation from the fluid balance
calculated by the researcher. Fourteen
recorded calculations (13.5%) were found
Table 1. S am pling fram ew o rk
Hospital Intensive-care beds, n
July – December 2011 , n Records sampled, n
A 26 1 020 34
B 28 1 027 34
C 38 1 022 35
D 12 300 Pilot study
Table 2. Deviation in fluid balance (A/=103)
0 – 3 706 0 – 50 51 – 500 501 – 1 000 1 001 – 2 000 >2001 No record
n 98 22 49 14 7 6 5
Percentage 95.1 21 48 13.5 6.8 5.8 4.9
Median deviation (mL) 167 20 146 754 1 249 3 310 –
Mean deviation (mL) 493 21 184 754 1 371 3 116 –
Range (mL) 0 – 3 706 0-46 61 -463 501 – 984 1 008- 1 928 2 260 – 3 706 –
Table 3. Comparison of accurate and inaccurate fluid calculation
Inaccurate flu id calculation, median (IQR)
Variab le Yes No p-value
Received blood products 180.5 (60- 1 312) 167 (61 -530) 0.95
CVP measured 202.5 (90 – 764) 119 (41 -320) 0.09
Matched doctor’s prescription 155 (60 – 530) 201 (63 – 708) 0.61
Diuretic administered 279(102-996) 106 (46 – 350) 0.01
Received >2 intravenous drugs 257 (75 -708) 138 (60-435) 0.16
IQR = in te rqua rtile range; CVP = central venous pressure.
to deviate between 500 mL and 1 000 mL,
while seven recorded calculations (6.8%)
were found to deviate between 1 000 mL
and 2 000 mL. Six recorded calculations
(5.8%) were found to have a deviation of
>2 000 mL.
There was a significant association
between the administration of diuretics
and inaccurate fluid balance calculation
(p=0.01), but there was no association
between other variables and the outcome
of interest (Table 3).
Discussion The definition of a net positive fluid balance
as a volume >500 mL used in the study by
Alsous eta/.151 was applied in this study. Of
great concern were the 27/103 documents,
more than 25% of the sample, w ith a
deviation of >500 mL between the recorded
calculation and the control calculation.
Equally of concern were the five patient
records where no fluid balance calculation
was available at all. These findings repres-
ent a risk for the critically ill patient when
one considers the findings of previous
studies related to positive fluid balance and
patient mortality.14’81 The findings of this
study showed that fluid balance calculation
is not treated as a priority in the nursing
management o f a critica lly ill patient.
The incorrect calculation of fluid balance
means tha t every patient management
decision utilising these fluid balance data
was influenced by inaccurate information.
Perren et al.1″ 1 performed a similar study in
Switzerland and expressed their concern
about the accuracy o f fluid balances in
critically ill patients.1111
Additionally, the significant association
between inaccurate fluid balance calcula-
tion and diuretic administration (p=0.01)
suggests that when diuretics are adminis-
tered, there is a higher chance of the
calculated fluid balance being incorrect.This
finding supports the researcher’s concern
that a careful and accurate approach to
fluid balance does not enjoy high priority
in managing critically ill patients in this
context. Diuretic therapy is a commonly
prescribed therapeutic modality; in this
study, 38.8% (40/103) of critically ill patients
had diuretics recorded as being adminis-
tered during the first 48 h of their admission.
Inaccurate fluid balance data may result in
inappropriate application of diuretic therapy,
resulting in fluid imbalances that affect the
haemodynamic stability of patients.
The findings of this study are limited by
the focus on one hospital group and may
be regarded as a pilot study for further
Conclusions in this study, the majority of audited 24-h
fluid balance calculations were shown to
be incorrect; 79% (81/103) of the original
recorded fluid balance calculations deviated
by >50 mL from the audited calculation. The
accuracy of the 24-h balance calculated is
questionable, with only 21% of the original
fluid balance totals deviating by <50 mL
from the audit calculations. This is of great
concern. Several studies14'81 have noted
a relationship between flu id imbalance
and mortality in critically ill patients. The
findings indicate that treatment decisions
are often based on inaccurate fluid balance
information, which may lead to negative
consequences for the patient.
A significant association was shown
between the administration of diuretics and
inaccurate 24-h fluid balance calculations.
With diuretics prescribed specifically to
manage fluid imbalance, this finding
indicates that the accuracy of the calculated
fluid balance must be confirmed prior to
diuretics being prescribed or administered.
Within the context of limited resources, any
clinical recommendations must be realistic
and practical. One suggested example
is instituting a system of checking fluid
balance calculations at specific intervals,
such as during patient handover at shift
change, during the patient assessment
process or during patient management
discussions. Awareness around the poten-
tial consequences of calculation errors must
be reinforced during patient discussions
and continuing education sessions.
The requirement to provide accurate,
correct fluid balance monitoring and
recording as part of the patient's vital sign
data must be established as a fundamental
standard of practice for every nurse
practising in an ICU. Regular outcome-
driven audits will assist in identifying
where and when errors occur, allowing for
specific interventions to be designed and
Further studies may assist in refining
the particular challenges of accurate fluid
balance recording, for instance cumulative
fluid balance over more than 24 h.
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3. Elliot D, Aitken L, Chaboyer W. ACCCN's Critical Care Nursing, 1st ed. Marrickville, Australia: Mosby Elsevier, 2007:440,445-446.
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9. South African Nursing Council. R2598, Regulations relating to the scope of practice o f persons who are registered or enrolled under the Nursing Act, 1978. Regulation of the Nursing Act, 2005 (Act No. 33 o f 2005). Pretoria: Government Gazette, 491,2006:34.
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