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Nursing News: Improving the Nursing Work Environment Has Far-Reaching Benefits

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 29th, 2012

Hospitals could improve patient satisfaction, care quality, and nurse retention by improving the nursing work environment, reports a new study in British Medical Journal.

For the study, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing researchers surveyed 61,168 nurses and 131,318 patients at more than 1,000 hospitals in the United States and Europe. The surveys found that nurse burnout and job dissatisfaction were “common” in both parts of the world and that about 60% of hospital patients on average were satisfied with their care.

Based on the survey findings, researchers determined that hospitals with better nursing work environments—such as better nurse-to-patient ratios, nurse involvement in decision-making, and positive nurse-physician relations—were more likely to have high patient satisfaction scores. Those hospitals’ patients were more likely to recommend them to other patients.

The researchers also determined that better nursing work environments were associated with a lower likelihood of nurse burnout.

Workplace improvements may provide a relatively inexpensive method to boost care quality, patient satisfaction scores, and nurse retention.

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