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

November 7, 2011, Drexel University

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."

Explore further: California nurse staffing

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

Related Stories

California nurse staffing

July 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 ...

Risk of hospital patient mortality increases with nurse staffing shortfalls, study finds

March 17, 2011
(PhysOrg.com) -- Nurses are the front-line caregivers to hospital patients, coordinating and providing direct care and delivering it safely and reliably. The goal for any hospital is to ensure that each of its patient-care ...

New strategy helps reduce errors in obstetrical care

February 3, 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.

Nurse tries to adopt patient's child

January 25, 2008
The Manitoba College of Registered Nurses disciplined a Canadian nurse for trying to adopt the child of one of her patients.

UF study: Florida nurses below U.S. average for higher degrees; patient care may suffer

February 24, 2011
Nurses in Florida are falling behind national trends in terms of education — a direction that may affect patient safety and quality of care as well as the ability to educate the next generation of nursing professionals.

17 percent of cancer nurses unintentionally exposed to chemotherapy, study finds

August 22, 2011
Nearly 17 percent of nurses who work in outpatient chemotherapy infusion centers reported being exposed on their skin or eyes to the toxic drugs they deliver, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive ...

Recommended for you

Experts caution study on plastics in humans is premature

October 23, 2018
Scientists in Austria say they've detected tiny bits of plastic in people's stool for the first time, but experts caution the study is too small and premature to draw any credible conclusion.

Can organic food help you reduce your risk of cancer? A new study suggests the answer may be yes

October 22, 2018
To reduce your risk of cancer, you know you should quit smoking, exercise regularly, wear sunscreen, and take advantage of screening tests. New research suggests another item might be added to this list: Choose organic foods ...

A topical gel that can prevent nerve damage due to spraying crops with pesticides

October 22, 2018
A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in India has developed a topical get that can be used by farmers to prevent nerve damage due to chemical crop spraying. In their paper published in the journal Science ...

Moderate exercise before conception resulted in lower body weight, increased insulin sensitivity of offspring

October 22, 2018
Men who want to have children in the near future should consider hitting the gym.

Modern conflict: Screen time vs. nature

October 22, 2018
Even rural kids today spend more time in front of screens and less time outdoors, according to a new study of middle-school students in South Carolina.

Community health workers can reduce hospitalizations by 65 percent and double patient satisfaction with primary care

October 22, 2018
Community health workers—trusted laypeople from local communities who help high-risk patients to address social issues like food and housing insecurity—can help reduce hospital stays by 65 percent and double the rate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.