Nursing Work Environment a Key Factor in Patient Recovery
Every detail counts in hospital environments, as there are countless things that can have an impact on patient recovery. One important factor that often goes overlooked is the work environment for nurses. Providing a good work environment for nurses – a regular schedule, supportive co-workers, continuing education opportunities, attractive uniforms and medical scrubs, etc. – helps them influence patient outcomes for the better.
According to experts, nurses’ job satisfaction can have a huge benefit on patient outcomes. As laws regulating federal spending on health care take a closer look at infection rates and other patient outcomes, ensuring patients get the best quality care is fiscally more important than ever. Creating a good work environment for nurses is one investment that can have huge benefits in terms of patient recovery.
A recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that work environments that foster efficiency, teamwork, and communication among professionals can significantly boost nurses’ job satisfaction. A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that increasing the number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees and improving nurse-to-patient ratios can also have a big impact.
More telling is a recent study by Press Ganey, a health care consulting firm. The Press Ganey report found a number of links between good nurse work environments and patient outcomes. According to the report, hospitals with good nurse-to-patient ratios and agreeable work environments have fewer readmissions and patient injury rates.
Research found that hospitals with happy nurses had far fewer readmissions for heart failure, myocardial infraction, pneumonia, and other illnesses. Health care providers with high nurse job satisfaction also had fewer patient falls and other injuries.
Improving nurse training and nurse-to-patient ratios had only a negligible impact on patient outcomes in facilities where the work environment was poor, studies found.
It’s really just a matter of common sense. Nurses who are overworked and stressed out are less able to provide quality care to patients, even if they’re committed professionals. Nurses who are well-trained, who feel that they are listened to, and who have a manageable workload can provide a higher standard of care to their patients.
Health care organizations can do a variety of things to improve the work environment for nurses. Big investments like hiring sufficient nurses to create manageable workloads and investing in training are helpful, but so are smaller initiatives such as striving to create an environment where nurses are treated as valued professionals.
That means encouraging good communication between nurses, doctors and other professionals, establishing a culture of mutual respect, and recognizing and rewarding outstanding work by nurses. Steps to establish professionalism among nurses, such as adopting attractive and neat medical uniforms can also contribute to a good working environment.
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