Pediatric Early Warning Score Systems, nurse’s perspective – a focus group study

  • Claus Sixtus Jensen Aarhus University Hospital, Research Centre for Emergency Medicine


Background: Pediatric early warning score (PEWS) systems are used to monitor pediatric patients’ vital signs and facilitate the treatment of patients at risk of deteriorating. The aim of this study was to gain knowledge about nurses’ experiences with PEWS and to highlight factors facilitating and impeding the use of PEWS tools in clinical practice we aim to obtain knowledge about nurses’ experiences with PEWS.

Methods: An exploratory qualitative design was chosen using focus group discussions to gain a deeper understanding of nurses’ experiences with PEWS. A total of five focus group discussions were conducted at three hospitals, and the analyses performed were inspired by Kvale and Brinckman.

Results: Seven themes were identified, including i) lack of interdisciplinary awareness, ii) clinical judgment and PEWS—a multi-faceted approach, iii) PEWS supports a professional language, iv) monitoring equipment—a challenge, v) PEWS helps to visualize the need for escalating care, vi) an inflexible and challenging tool, and vii) supportive tools enhance the nurses’ experiences of PEWS positively.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that attention should be given to nurses’ perceptions of how both clinical judgment and PEWS should be seen as essential in providing nurses with information about the patients’ conditions. If not, the risk of failing to recognize patients’ deteriorating conditions will remain. From the nurses’ perspective, medical doctors seemed unaware of their role in using PEWS.

Jensen, C. (2019). Pediatric Early Warning Score Systems, nurse’s perspective – a focus group study. Dansk Tidsskrift for Akutmedicin, 2(3), 38.