Hospital work environment, nurse staffing and missed care in Chile: A cross-sectional observational study

Marta Simonetti*, Consuelo Cerón, Alejandra Galiano, Eileen T. Lake, Linda H. Aiken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Aims and Objectives: To characterise the problem of missed nursing care in Chilean hospitals and to test associations with hospital organisational variables. Background: Missed nursing care is a common problem in different countries, but it has not been studied in Chile. Design: Multihospital cross-sectional study (Supplementary file 1: STROBE guideline). Methods: Study population of 45 adult high-complexity hospitals and 1853 registered nurses (RN) working on medical-surgical units. Primary data were collected through a nurse survey. Nurses reported, out of a list of nursing care activities, the ones left undone during their last shift. The main independent variables were the work environment, measured through the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index, patient-to-nurse ratios and RN skillmix. Adjusted logistic regression analyses were used to test associations, accounting for clustering of nurses working in the same hospital. Results: The hospital response rate was 88.9% and, for nurses, 88.1%. The mean patient-to-nurse ratio was 14.5 (range 6–23). The average skillmix was 31% RN. Eighty-six percent of nurses missed at least one activity. The activities most frequently missed included patient education, comforting patients and surveillance. The adjusted model showed a significant association between the work environment, staffing ratios and missed care. The RN skillmix was not associated. Conclusions: Missed care is highly prevalent problem in Chilean hospitals. Clinical activities were the least missed. It is necessary to improve work environments and reduce the number of patients per nurse to improve the safety and quality of care. Relevance for clinical practice: The study results are relevant since they provide new data to Chile. Better work environments and adequate human resources are modifiable factors that can be addressed from a managerial perspective, with low-cost strategies to effectively reduce missed care and improve safety and quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2518-2529
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number17-18
StatePublished - 4 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • health services research
  • nursing activity
  • nursing care
  • nursing workforce
  • outcomes
  • quality and safety
  • work organisation


Dive into the research topics of 'Hospital work environment, nurse staffing and missed care in Chile: A cross-sectional observational study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this