Surveillance as a Nursing Concept


Nursing surveillance is a procedure aimed at determining safety risks to patient’s health by means of focused attainment, understanding, and analysis of information for medical decision-making (Kelly & Vincent, 2011). Other than the physical actions linked with provision of nursing care, nurses use their expertise, instincts, and early detection abilities to recognize changes in patients’ conditions. Similarly, they choose when and what steps to take based on their directions. The surveillance’s procedure is determined by the nurses’ skills. They are level of education and work environment background. Enhanced surveillance results in improved outcomes. On the other hand, compromised surveillance causes decreased outcomes. Based on the above definition, it is apparent that surveillance is a broad and multifaceted process. Equally, the definition illustrates the unique setting through which surveillance can be assessed (Kelly & Vincent, 2011).

Surveillance varies based on the current acknowledged nursing judgment because through this process, nurses are not accountable for the accomplishment of the results (Schoneman, 2002). As such, nursing surveillance is a threat diagnosis, which is usually physiological in nature. Little information has been documented with respect to the diagnoses that are most agreeable to surveillance or the traits of patients for whom the process was effected (Schoneman, 2002). With an appropriate analysis, knowledge about nursing surveillance can be enhanced. Therefore, expounding the concept in nursing hypothetical structures would create an environment that enhances surveillance for future research.

The consequences of not embedding surveillance in my nursing practice

In my nursing practices, there are numerous consequences of not embedding surveillance. As such, the effects linked to the process are positive when adequate surveillance is implemented. Based on this, it is apparent that negative consequences should be evaded by every means. In my nursing career, poor surveillance rate is the case that should be avoided. Usually, the lack of surveillance is recognized as the incapability to save a client’s life in acute care conditions. Nurses’ failure to ensure surveillance in their practice would be ethically wrong. It would be wrong because as nurses must always work towards saving the lives of their clients.

Based on existing literatures, the ultimate goals of every nursing surveillance process are to thwart and avoid risky situations (Kelly & Vincent, 2011). Through this, the process aims at avoiding harm, lessening unfavorable events, enhancing health outcomes, and augmenting likelihoods of positive patient results. Therefore, failure to implement the process equates to a failure to enhance the above desired outcomes. The consequences of such a failure may augment unfavorable events, the call for rescue when a problem arises, rise in life-threatening situations, and increased mortality rates. Based on the above arguments, it is clear that most nursing care hurdles occur due to failure to implement surveillance in the nursing practice. Equally, there is a link between the cost of health care and the level of surveillance put in place. For instance, if the cost of health care offered is high in relation to the surveillance put in place, the cost per patient hospitalized is significantly high (Schoneman, 2002).

Importance of surveillance to the role of the registered nurse

For a registered nurse, surveillance has numerous benefits (Schoneman, 2002). For instance, evaluation of surveillance offers insight for registered nurses. Therefore, registered nurses should identify the mixture of behavioral and cognitive procedures used in nursing surveillance (Lavin, 2006). An understanding of the topic can help nurses to balance the requirements and skills needed to ensure surveillance is achieved. Equally, a better understanding would provide nurses with knowledge about actions that enhance surveillance and lessen failure to risk rates. In addition, if nurses analyze failure to rescue the patient or surveillance’s outcomes, they can better the procedures and determinants influencing surveillance.

Given that nursing surveillance is a multifaceted concept, it has been noted that it is not possible to fully evaluate it by analyzing its presence (Kelly & Vincent, 2011). Therefore, nursing surveillance should be recognized, developed, and examined as a multidimensional model with a number of factors making up its framework. Therefore, the study of surveillance could enable registered nurse to acquire the above insights. Equally, knowledge about surveillance can be a benefit to registered nurses for their future researches. As such, this knowledge can enable the nurses to evaluate the relation that exists between failure to rescue the patent and surveillance rate as well as their resulting outputs. If registered nurses analyze surveillance, they would be able to recognize the traits that determine its concept. So far, a little information have been documented with respect to the diagnoses that are in accordance with surveillance or the traits of patients for whom the process should be effected (Schoneman, 2002). Therefore, additional knowledge about the topic would be of help to registered nurses. Expounding the notion in nursing hypothetical structures would generate an environment that enhances surveillance for research.

How I will apply this concept in my practice

As illustrated above, the concept has numerous benefits to nursing practice. In this regard, I would apply the concept in my every day nursing activities. To tap its enormous benefits, I should take note of the mixture of behavioral and cognitive procedures applied in the concept. When making use of the concept, I would be able to identify how surveillance incorporates the application of behavioral and cognitive procedures in identifying up-and-coming indicators of alterations among patients ((Yousef, Angadi, Nagare, & Raymond, 2007). Through this, I would be able to understand the complex descriptions associated with the concept. During my application processes, I would collect, analyze, and interpret data to come up with patient care choices. During the process, I would be required to lessen negative outcomes. I would achieve this by avoiding unfavorable events or worsening of a patient’s status. As such, I believe that being able to manage the outcomes, I would identify and understand the theorized association between nursing surveillance and its findings.

During the application process, I would be able to carry out a research on surveillance by not only evaluating the preceding fundamental sign values, but also by deducing modern data from the perspective of other recognized variables. The variables include the prescriptions administered. Thereafter, I would choose whether to instigate a transformation in my practice.

Similarly, I can apply the concept in my practice by debriefing proceedings. The proceedings might include rapid response calls. Equally, I would analyze the related tasks and think over procedures, which might occur during the proceedings. Other than the physical actions linked with provision of nursing care, I would make use of my know-how, instinct, and early detection abilities to recognize transformations in the patients’ conditions and choose how and when to take steps based on my rulings. Above all, our department will optimize staffing and work environment traits to increase patients’ surveillance rates.


Kelly L. & Vincent D. (2011). The dimensions of nursing surveillance: a concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67(3), 652–661.

Lavin M. (2006). Literature Support for the Use of Surveillance Diagnoses in Nursing Practice. International Journal of Nursing Terminologies and Classifications 17(1), 90-91.

Schoneman, D. (2002). Surveillance as a Nursing Intervention: Use in Community Nursing Centers. Journal of Community Health Nursing. 19(1), 33–47.

Yousef, A., Angadi, D., Nagare, U., & Raymond, C. (2007). Home surveillance of leaking wounds after hip and knee arthroplasty: a prospective audit. Journal of wound care, 1 (7), 289-291.

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