Study: When Nurses are Safer, Patients are Safer

Making the workplace better for nurses turns out to not only benefit them, but their patients as well. United Press International reports:

Dr. Jennifer Taylor of the Drexel University School of Public Health found the safety climate was associated with both patient and nurse injuries, suggesting patient and nurse safety may be linked outcomes.

The study included data from a large urban hospital, including 28,876 patient discharges on 29 nursing units employing 723 registered nurses.

For each nursing unit, researchers collected nurses’ responses to a survey of safety attitudes — a measure of safety climate — as well as hospital-reported nurse and patient injury data collected the following year.

Patient injury data included commonly-preventable hospital injuries: falls, pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis and decubitus ulcers — pressure ulcers or bedsore. Nurse injury data included needle-sticks, splashes, slips, trips and falls.

The study, published in the BMJ Quality and Safety, found the increased turnover of nurses should be considered a risk factor for nurse and patient injuries. With each 10 percent increase in a unit’s nurse turnover rate, researchers observed a 68 percent increase in the odds of nurse injury, as well as increased patient risk for pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis.

This makes a lot of sense; notice that “falls” appear on both lists, for example. (If the floors are slippery, both nurses and patients are at risk.) This highlights the importance of good recruiting and employee retention practices in terms of safety in the workplace.

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