Wondering about your hospital's quality? Ask a nurse

Wondering about your hospital's quality? ask a nurse
Research finds they have accurate insights into level of care provided.

(HealthDay)—The easiest way to assess a hospital's quality of care might be to just ask the nurses, new research suggests.

One reason nurses tend to have accurate perceptions about quality of care in the hospital where they work is that they are on the front lines and are most familiar with the daily experiences of their patients, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing pointed out.

"For a complete picture of , data from nurses is essential," the study's lead author, Matthew McHugh, a expert at Penn Nursing, said in a university news release. "Their assessments of quality are built on more than an isolated encounter or single process—they are developed over time through a series of interactions and direct observations of care."

The study, which looked at the relationship between hospitals known for nursing excellence and reports from nurses on , involved more than 16,000 nurses from nearly 400 hospitals in California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The nurses' perceptions of quality accurately reflected hospital outcome measures, such as complications after surgery and patients' views on the level of their care. And, the researchers found, more nurses working in hospitals known for outstanding care and quality reported their workplace had an excellent level of care.

"Obtaining information from nurses takes advantage of their unique perspective within the caregiving context," McHugh noted. "Nurses have insights—patient-provider interactions, integration of technology, patient and family education—that are not always documented in the but often make the difference between good and bad outcomes".

The study authors pointed out that measures are used to craft health care policy and also influence insurance and improvement efforts.

"Although the patient's perspective is the most relevant quality-of-care indicator, nurse-reported quality of care is clearly a valuable indicator of hospital quality," McHugh concluded in the news release.

The study was released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Research in Nursing and Health.

More information:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about health care quality measures.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hospital nurses dissatisfied with health benefits

Feb 14, 2011

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that nearly 41 per cent of nurses working in American hospitals and health-care settings were dissatisfied with their health-care benefits. The figure is more than ...

To keep nurses, improve their work environments

Dec 08, 2011

Nurses working in hospitals around the world are reporting they are burned out and dissatisfied with their jobs, reported researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy ...

Better together - The RN and the EHR

Jan 17, 2012

With the prodding of new federal legislation, electronic health records (EHRs) are rapidly becoming part of the daily practice of hospital nurses – the frontline providers of care. In the first large study of its kind, ...

RN staffing affects patient success after discharge

Apr 26, 2011

Higher non-overtime staffing levels of registered nurses lower the probability of patient readmissions to the hospital, a new study finds. However, higher levels of RN overtime increase the likelihood of unplanned ...

Recommended for you

Sensors may keep hospitalized patients from falling

1 hour ago

(Medical Xpress)—To keep hospitalized patients safer, University of Arizona researchers are working on new technology that involves a small, wearable sensor that measures a patient's activity, heart rate, ...

Rising role seen for health education specialists

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A health education specialist can help family practices implement quality improvement projects with limited additional financial resources, according to an article published in the March/April ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

3 hours ago

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

User comments