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charge nurse, nursing staffing, nursing surveillance, sepsis



  1. LeBlanc, Paul PhD, RN, NE-BC
  2. Kabbe, Angela PhD, FNP-BC
  3. Letvak, Susan PhD, RN, FAAN


Purpose: Sepsis remains a life-threatening condition and leading cause of death in the United States despite vast efforts to understand and treat it. Successful sepsis treatment requires the timely implementation of the sepsis bundle to avoid multiple organ system failure; a key component of sepsis care is nursing surveillance. The purpose of this study was to explore nurses' knowledge of nursing surveillance related to the patient with sepsis and to describe barriers to the implementation of nursing surveillance for sepsis and the sepsis bundle.


Design: A qualitative descriptive design study used focus groups to elicit responses to open-ended questions.


Methods: Focus group interviews with 28 registered nurses were conducted. All focus group participants had a minimum of 6 months' experience caring for patients with sepsis.


Results: Five themes emerged from the study: (1) knowledge deficit of the sepsis bundle and nursing surveillance, (2) uncertain and overwhelmed, (3) lack of resources, (4) in the dark, and (5) lack of partnership/respect. The notion of fearing the patient with sepsis and knowledge deficits of nursing surveillance and sepsis bundle were unique findings.


Conclusions: Findings highlight the need for increased attention on the importance of nurse surveillance of the patient with sepsis.