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Nursing care at night: an evaluation using the Night Nursing Care Instrument


  • Magnus Oléni MNSc RN,

  • Peter Johansson MNSc RN,

  • Bengt Fridlund PhD RN RNT

Magnus Oléni,
Department of Child Psychiatry,
Central Hospital,
S-301 85 Halmstad,


Introduction.  Night nurses carry overall nursing responsibility for approximately half the time that patients spend in hospital. However, there is a paucity of literature that focuses on nursing care provided at night.

Aim.  The aim of this study was to evaluate nursing care provided at night from the perspective of both nurses and patients.

Methods.  The study, which had an evaluative and a comparative design, was carried out using the Night Nursing Care Instrument at a hospital in southern Sweden. Nurses (n = 178) on night duty were consecutively selected, while the patients (n = 356) were selected by convenience sampling.

Results.  The results showed a statistically significant difference between nurses’ assessments and patients’ perceptions of the nursing care provided at night in nursing interventions (P < 0·0001). In the areas of medical interventions and evaluation, no statistically significant differences were found between nurses and patients. For eight of 11 items, patients reported that they were satisfied (≥80%) with the nursing care provided at night.

Conclusions.  These findings suggest that night nurses need to improve their ability to assess patients’ needs for nursing care at night. A first step in this direction is for them to become aware of how patients perceive night nursing. As a second step, nurses need to increase their knowledge of which nursing actions promote patients’ rest at night.