Hospital safety climate linked to both patient and nurse injuries: study

A safe working environment for nurses is also a safe environment for the patients in their care, according to a new study led by public health researchers at Drexel University. Researchers, led by Dr. Jennifer Taylor, an assistant professor in Drexel's School of Public Health, found that safety climate was associated with both patient and nurse injuries, suggesting that patient and nurse safety may be linked outcomes. The study was published online in BMJ Quality and Safety in October.

For each 10-point increase in the average climate score, the odds of decubitus ulcer declined by 44-48 percent and the odds of nurse injury declined by 40-45percent.

Patient and nurse injuries are both cause for increasing concern in the health care industry, not only due to the pain and suffering experienced by those directly affected, but also because both types of injuries contribute to the rising cost of health care due to the need for extended hospital stays for and hiring temporary staff to replace injured nurses. However, most research considers either or occupational safety in isolation.

"Our findings suggest that patient safety and occupational safety for nurses may be related by common causes, and should be considered together in future studies," said Taylor.

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/ (PE/DVT) and decubitus ulcers (commonly referred to as or bedsores). Nurse injury data included needle-sticks, splashes, slips, trips and falls.

The findings also indicate that 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 PE/DVT.

The researchers note that a study of this type could not identify the specific causes of the associations found between factors of safety climate and nurse turnover, and reported injuries. Future studies should track injuries and safety factors over time and in different types of hospital environments.

"This is one of few studies that have identified predictors of both and patient in the hospital setting," said Taylor. "We need to look deeper into hospital organizations to understand the cause and effect relationship."

More information: Taylor JA, Dominici F, Agnew J, et al. BMJ Qual Saf (2011). doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2011-000082

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

California nurse staffing

Jul 15, 2011

In a comprehensive analysis comparing nurse staffing in California hospitals to similar hospitals in the U.S. over nearly a decade, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing have found that controversial ...

New strategy helps reduce errors in obstetrical care

Feb 03, 2008

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have implemented patient safety enhancements to dramatically reduce errors and improve the staff’s own perception of the safety climate in obstetrical care.

Recommended for you

Teen vaccinations up but HPV coverage remains low overall

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—From 2012 to 2013, coverage for adolescents aged 13 to 17 years increased for all routinely recommended vaccinations. Increases ranged from 1.4 percentage points for at least one tetanus toxoid, ...

User comments