Impact of nursing diagnoses on patient and organisational outcomes: A systematic literature review

Impact of nursing diagnoses on patient and organisational outcomes: A systematic literature review

2.17.11 - Nursing intensity


Aims and objectives

To investigate the impact of nursing diagnoses on patient and organisational outcomes in any field of health care where nurses are involved.


In healthcare systems, descriptions of patient complexity and outcomes and payment criteria are primarily based on medical diagnoses and procedures. Other aspects of patient care are rarely considered. Nursing diagnoses are believed to be related to healthcare outcomes, but comprehensive evidence for this association is missing.


Systematic literature review.


The search was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL and Scopus databases without year or language limitations. The studies were categorised according to their methodological quality (low, good or high) and classified based on their levels of evidence on a scale of 1 (strongest evidence) to 5 (weakest evidence).


Seventeen of 3426 potentially relevant studies met the eligibility criteria. Eleven studies were classified as low, five as good and one as high quality. The levels of evidence were rated as 2 for one study, three for two studies, four for nine studies and five for five studies. Nursing diagnoses were found to predict patient (quality of life, mortality) and organisational (length of hospital stay, hospital charges, amount of nursing care, discharge dispositions) outcomes. Patient care plans based on nursing diagnoses improved sleep quality, quality of life and glycaemic control. When added to information from disease-based classification systems (e.g. diagnosis-related groups), nursing diagnoses improved the predictions of the above outcomes.


Nursing diagnoses have a great potential to predict patient and organisational outcomes. High-quality research is required to better investigate the existence and strength of these relationships.

Relevance to clinical pratice

The systematic use of nursing diagnoses in clinical practice, as well as the sharing of high-quality nursing data in large databases, may provide a considerable boost to the contribution of nursing to healthcare outcomes.


nursing data; nursing diagnosis; outcome; systematic review.



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