Distracted Practice: A Concept Analysis

Publication Date


UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing

Document Type



Health and Medical Administration | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Nursing


PROBLEM: Distracted practice is a growing concern for all healthcare professionals working in today's complex, technology-rich, acute care hospital environment. Distractions are a threat to patient safety, frequently cited as a contributing factor when reporting an adverse event. The number of new technologies introduced to the healthcare environment has significantly increased the number of distractions. Shrinking resources and the resultant time pressure placed on all practitioners has added to the list of human factors known to be contributing to potential errors. Delivering safe, quality care in this environment has now become a daily challenge for all members of the healthcare team. Distracted practice was found to have no consistent definition in the healthcare literature.

METHOD: Walker and Avant's method of concept analysis was used to develop a preliminary definition and model of distracted practice.

FINDINGS: This analysis includes a definition, characteristics, antecedents, and consequences of distracted practice.

CONCLUSION: More research is needed to fully understand this critical human experience of distracted practice. With additional knowledge we will be able to raise awareness and create interventions to reduce its occurrence among members of the healthcare team. This will positively contribute to the team's efforts to keep all our patients safe while in the hospital.


Concept analysis, distraction, patient safety

DOI of Published Version



Nurs Forum. 2015 Nov 25. doi: 10.1111/nuf.12153. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nursing forum


Lynn D'Esmond undertook this study as a doctoral student (view her dissertation) in the Graduate School of Nursing at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID