Thematic Analysis of Nurses' Experiences With The Joint Commission's Medication Management Titration Standards

Publication Date


UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing

Document Type



Critical Care Nursing | Health Policy | Health Services Administration


BACKGROUND: For decades, medication titration has been within nurses' scope and practice. In 2017 The Joint Commission (TJC) revised elements for orders for the titration of continuous intravenous medications.

OBJECTIVES: To explore the practice and perceptions of nurses regarding TJC standards for titration of continuous intravenous medications.

METHODS: Nurses with experience titrating medications completed an investigator-designed, validated cross-sectional survey. Inductive thematic analysis was conducted in order to analyze the open-ended comments from that quantitative survey.

RESULTS: From among 730 completed surveys, 159 comments were received. Analysis of the comments yielded 3 levels of abstraction. Two overarching themes were harm and professionalism. Additional abstraction for the harm theme revealed categories of erosion of workplace wellness, moral dilemma, and patient safety, which were coded as relating to workplace stress, workload, burnout/turnover, physical risk, inefficiency, demeaning/devalued, falsification of records, problematic orders, burden of documentation, suboptimal care, delay in care, individualized care, and provider availability. Within the professionalism theme, categories of autonomy and nurse proficiency were identified, with 7 associated codes: top of scope, critical thinking, overregulation, teamwork, education, registered nurse knowledge, and novice registered nurse guidance.

CONCLUSIONS: The standards from TJC impose harm by eroding workplace wellness and introducing moral dilemmas and patient safety concerns. Professionalism is threatened through limits on scope and autonomy. Further advocacy is necessary in order to resolve unanticipated consequences related to the titration standards.

DOI of Published Version



Davidson JE, Chechel L, Chavez J, Olff C, Rincon T. Thematic Analysis of Nurses' Experiences With The Joint Commission's Medication Management Titration Standards. Am J Crit Care. 2021 Sep 1;30(5):375-384. doi: 10.4037/ajcc2021280. PMID: 34467388. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of critical care : an official publication, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID