Recent Research About Nursing, September 2009

New studies focus on patient safety issues in hospitals and hospital preparation for the H1N1 flu.

    • September 30, 2009

Hospital Nurses See Safety Problems Patients Miss

Results from a new survey of nurses and patients conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center highlight several key patient safety issues. Researchers surveyed 731 nurses caring for patients in emergency rooms, critical-care units, operating rooms and other parts of hospital units, and then compared the responses with the results of a 2008 survey of more than 13,000 of its readers covering the same issues. Key findings include:

  • About 4 percent of patients reported seeing problems with hospital cleanliness, while 28 percent of nurses reported the same.
  • Five percent of patients reported that hospital staff sometimes failed to wash their hands before attending to a patient, while 26 percent of nurses said the same.
  • Thirteen percent of patients believed that their care was not properly coordinated, while 38 percent of nurses said care coordination was a problem.

Consumer Reports magazine reported on the study in its September 2009 edition. The magazine has approximately four million subscribers, and the story generated news coverage from other outlets, as well.

Consumer Reports article.

Not All Hospitals Ready for H1N1

A new survey of nurses in 190 American hospitals in nine states reveals that many of the nation’s health care facilities are not prepared for the H1N1 flu pandemic expected this fall. The survey was conducted by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.

The survey gathered data from R.N.s in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas. It found:

  • At more than one in four hospitals, nurses cite inadequate isolation of swine flu patients, increasing the risk of infection to others.
  • Nurses at 15 percent of hospitals report that they do not have access, or only some have access, to the appropriate N95 respirator masks, exposing nurses and patients to infection. At up to 40 percent of the hospitals, nurses are expected to re-use masks, in violation of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. At 19 percent of the hospitals, all or some masks were not “fitted,” to ensure their effectiveness against the virus.
  • At 18 percent of the hospitals, RNs have been infected with H1N1, nurses say.
  • Nurses at 26 percent of hospitals report that infected patients are not being properly isolated in appropriately ventilated rooms, raising the possibility of the infection spreading to others in the facility.

The California Nurses Association news release.