Posted On: April 19, 2014 by Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy

Increasing Nurse Participation Can Improve Patient Outcomes

nurse%27s%20week.jpgHospitals that increase participation by nursing staff and establish a more positive environment for nurses are much more likely to see positive patient safety outcomes. Those were the results of a new study that was published recently in The Journal of Nursing Administration.

The results of the study found that making improvements to nurses’ positive contribution and participation in a hospital environment, including care delivery and care giving decisions, can actually improve patient safety outcomes. Overall, there are much better levels of patient care when quality improvement efforts focus on the role of nurses, instead of focusing only on doctors.

The results of the study also confirmed earlier research that has found that hospitals that make investments in nursing improvements achieve better patient outcomes. For example, one study that was conducted earlier this month year found that when magnet hospitals that invest in staffing, education and more positive work environments for nurses, were able to achieve better patient outcomes. Magnet hospitals are known for their high quality of care as well as nursing excellence, and are also believed to be generally more successful at attracting and retaining the highest quality and caliber of nurses. In this new study, researchers compared as many as 56 magnet hospitals with 495 non-magnet hospitals. They clearly found that magnet hospitals were linked to a higher level of patient care and quality.

These hospitals, for example, have much higher numbers of nurses who have a bachelor's degrees of nursing. They also have more numbers of nurses with specialized training and certification than typical conventional hospitals. Such hospitals are found to deliver a higher level of patient care.

Overall, surgical mortality in such magnet hospitals was approximately 20% lower compared to non-magnet hospitals. When patients experienced complications in magnet hospitals, the mortality rate was approximately 12% lower. Surgical patients in magnet hospitals had a fatality rate within 30 days that was approximately 14% lower, compared to non-magnet hospitals.

The research clarifies that when hospitals invest in better education opportunities, more numbers of certified, qualified and trained and experienced nurses, as well as a positive work environment that encourages nurses to participate in care-delivery decisions, the result is always best for patients. The researchers found a few practices that empower nurses, and involve them in the caregiving process. For instance, magnet hospitals very often implement practices like hiring chief nurses who are highly visible and accessible, having more numbers of nurses, encouraging nurses to participate in decision-making in their unit as well as around the hospital, supporting nursing practices, and other practices that are very conducive to patient safety.

The Indiana medical malpractice attorneys at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent persons who have suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence across Indiana.