1. Cox, Erin MS, RN, CCRN
  2. Gavaghan, Susan MSN, RN
  3. Jeffries, Marion MSN, APRN,BC, FNP-C
  4. Jones, Dorothy A. EdD, RNc, FAAN

Article Content


The study compared the ranking of the 10 most common patient problems as reported by staff and clinical nurse specialists, the level of preparedness to address each problem, and the adequacy of resources needed, across 3 study groups.



CNSs are central to the identification, intervention, and evaluation of patient care. CNSs at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) developed a survey to describe the focus of nursing practice. Survey findings can be used to describe the content of nursing care, to cost out nursing care, and to guide the CNS role.



The study sample consisted of 3 independent groups, including staff nurses, CNSs at MGH, and a national sample of CNSs. The survey, Common Patient Problems, was developed and validated by the MGH CNS Research Task Force and contains 27 common patient problems identified as frequently occurring across patient populations responsive to nursing care. Participants rated the frequency of occurrence for each problem, preparedness, and adequacy of resources. Study data from all 3 samples were analyzed and compared.



Study results indicated a high degree of agreement on the ranking of frequently occurring problems (eg, anxiety) across groups. Differences were noted with respect to years of experience, scope of practice, geographic location, level of preparedness, and resource adequacy.