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New Study From Penn Nursing Links Nurse Work Environments With Outcomes

New Study From Penn Nursing Links Nurse Work Environments With Outcomes

A new meta-analysis from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing ’s (Penn Nursing) Center for Health Outcomes & Policy Research (CHOPR) has synthesized 16 years of studies to show the association between the nurse work environment and four sets of outcomes: nurse job outcomes, nurse assessments of quality and safety, patient health outcomes, and patient satisfaction. 

Nurses play a critical role in patient safety and new research from Penn Nursing explores the relationship between the nurse work environment and a variety of patient and nurse quality and safety outcomes. Nurses are often the last line of defense against medical errors and unsafe practices and this new research shows an association between nurse work environments and health care quality, safety, and patient and clinician well-being. 

Lead-investigator Eileen T. Lake, PhD, MSN, FAAN, the Jessie M. Scott Endowed Term Chair in Nursing and Health Policy, tells TheDP.com, “Our quantitative synthesis of the results of many studies revealed that better work environments were associated with lower odds of negative outcomes ranging from patient and nurse job dissatisfaction to patient mortality.”

The study involved a systematic review of studies from around the world that reported empirical research using the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index. The study reported data from more than 2,600 hospitals, 165,000 nurses, and 1.3 million patients about the practice environment, nurse job outcomes, safety and quality ratings, patient outcomes, and patient satisfaction.

To learn more about Penn Nursing’s new study linking better work environments with lower odds of negative outcomes, visit here

Is Your Workplace in Good Shape?

Is Your Workplace in Good Shape?

This online tool for nurses can assess the health of a range of work environments

What makes a work environment healthy? According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), it’s a place where healthcare professionals can make their optimal contribution. For almost a decade, critical care nurses have been able to evaluate the health of their work environment with the association’s online assessment tool  based on its Healthy Work Environment standards.

Now a new study finds that the tool has applications beyond critical care, and is effective for assessing the health of the work environment for interprofessional patient care teams throughout a hospital’s patient care settings.

“Although AACN’s assessment tool has been used primarily among acute and critical care nurses, our findings support consideration of wider use in multiple healthcare settings,” said the study’s principal investigator, Jean Anne Connor, PhD, RN, CPNP, director of nursing research, cardiovascular, and critical care patient services at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Clinical leaders understand that to safeguard the quality of patient care, attention must be focused on the performance of healthcare teams.”

The Interprofessional Team

The assessment tool is an 18-question survey designed to help organizations or departments identify areas for improvement. It assists in measuring the health of a work environment against AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment standards:

  • Skilled communication
  • True collaboration
  • Effective decision-making
  • Appropriate staffing
  • Meaningful recognition
  • Authentic leadership

The study, published in the American Journal of Critical Care, reports the results of a two-phase administration of the tool to 2,621 patient-care employees at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Researchers administered the survey using a test-retest, two-stage approach. First, the AACN Healthy Work Environment Assessment Tool was administered to all healthcare team members, including physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, clinical assistants, and administrators.

The first wave of the survey received 1,030 responses from 2,621 potential employee participants. Three weeks later, a second survey was sent to a random sample of 200 potential respondents stratified by role (physician, nurse, and others), and the response rate was 83.5%. The results of the responses showed that the AACN Healthy Work Environments Assessment Tools is reliable and valid, supporting its use as an organizational measure, the researchers concluded.

Expanded Use

They noted that Boston Children’s Hospital has used the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture since 2010 to assess how employees perceive their work environment regarding patient safety. The hospital has also administered the AACN online assessment tool to interprofessional staff in critical care and cardiovascular programs annually since 2010 and recently expanded it to an enterprise-wide assessment.

The team said that study results have been used in the development of measurement benchmarks and led to use of the Healthy Work Environments Assessment Tool in a nurse-led consortium of 30 cardiovascular programs in freestanding children’s hospitals.

This story was originally posted on MedPage Today.