Aim. This paper describes a literature review of studies on the effect of the preanalytical phase on the quality of laboratory results, and consequently on the quality of nursing. The aim was to describe quality errors in the preanalytical phase of blood sampling, in order to increase nurses’ awareness of preanalytical errors and to facilitate improvements in nursing practice associated with blood sampling.
Background. The quality of the preanalytical phase plays a vital role in obtaining reliable test results, thus promoting patients’ health, diagnostics and facilitating analysis of the effectiveness of the treatment. Data sources. Medline and CINAHL.
Review methods. A narrative literature research was carried out (1990-2010). The inclusion criteria were: 1) an original study or review; and 2) studies involving blood sampling. The selected papers were screened and irrelevant studies were excluded. By examining the references cited in the selected papers an additional five relevant studies were identified.
Results. Twenty four papers met the inclusion criteria and fell into three categories. The preanalytical errors associated with blood sampling were related to: 1) preparing patients for the tests; 2) collecting samples; and 3) the effects of handling, storage and transportation of blood samples. All these three factors can influence the quality of laboratory results.
Conclusion. The information provided by this study review may be used to improve and evaluate the quality of blood sampling praxis. Nurses should be aware of the preanalytical errors on blood sampling and their influence on laboratory results on account of patient safety. Also multi-professional co-operation with laboratory personnel in sampling could decrease failures in preanalytical phase.
Key words: blood sampling, laboratory results, preanalytical quality, literature review