“What Bed Size Does a Patient Need?” by Wiggermann et al.

The nursing research article chosen for the critique is “What bed size does a patient need? The relationship between body mass index and space required to turn in bed” by Wiggermann, Smith, and Kumpar. It was first published in the Nursing Research journal in 2017. Wiggermann et al. conducted an experimental study to elaborate practical guidance for nurses on selecting the appropriate bed size for patients. The article has no reference to a theoretical framework that could aid the research.

Anthropometric dimensions of the participants were measured, and the envelope of space required to turn was determined using motion capture. The linear regression showed the correlation between body mass index (BMI) and space required to turn. Previous studies conducted by Muir and Archer-Heese (2009) and Gourash, Rogula, and Schauer (2007) on selecting a bed size for a patient had no empirical evidence to support the recommendations.

The method is feasible as the main variables were easily estimated with the measurement error of less than 1 mm (Wiggermann et al., 2017). Incorporating motion capture measurements and measuring various anthropometric dimensions speak to the validity of the research. However, the participants were non-hospitalized people that means that the results may miss the potential needs of real patients (Pretorius et al., 2018). The research has several minor limitations as it did not consider the additional shifts of participants. This may affect the coefficient of line fits used for elaborating bed size recommendations.

Based on the results, the correlation between BMI and space required to turn was estimated using the linear regression. This enabled the authors to determine the appropriate bed sizes for patients depending on their BMI and mobility. The research is significant as it gave experimentally proven practical recommendations for nurses on choosing bed size for patients. The interpretations mainly support and empirically prove observations made by previous researchers.

To sum up, taking into account that more than 30% of the Americans are obese, applying the results of the study in the clinical practice of nurses may help avoid patients’ injuries (Ogden, Carroll, Fryar, & Flegal, 2015). The significance of the research should be evaluated based on its scientific novelty and practical application. Even though the study has several limitations, their impact is expected to be modest.


Gourash W., Rogula T., & Schauer P. R. (2007). Essential bariatric equipment: Making your facility more accommodating to bariatric surgical patients. In P. R. Schauer, B. D. Schirmer, & S. Brethauer (Eds.), Minimally invasive bariatric surgery (pp. 37–49). New York, NY: Springer.

Muir M., & Archer-Heese G. (2009). Essentials of a bariatric patient handling program. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 14(1), Manuscript 5. Web.

Ogden C. L., Carroll M. D., Fryar C. D., & Flegal K. M. (2015). . NCHS Data Brief, 219, 1-8. Web.

Pretorius, K., Cengiz, A., Geshell, L., Jang, D., Prater, T., Wang, Y.,… Sagna, A. (2018). What bed size does a patient need? The relationship between body mass index and space required to turn in bed. Nursing Research, 67(4), 273-274. Web.

Wiggermann, N., Smith, K., & Kumpar, D. (2017). What bed size does a patient need? The relationship between body mass index and space required to turn in bed. Nursing Research, 66(6), 483-489. Web.

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