Recent Research About Nursing, February 2014

Feb 18, 2014, 9:00 AM

This is part of the February 2014 issue of Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge.

Nurses’ Perceptions of Their Workplaces

A new survey offers insights into how hospital nurses perceive their workplace and profession. Jackson Healthcare, a health care staffing company, surveyed 1,333 hospital nurses. Among the findings:

  • Nearly two-thirds of surveyed nurses (64 percent) say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs.
  • Sixty-seven percent say they have less time at patients’ bedsides than they wish because they must perform activities that other hospital personnel could be doing, including looking for equipment and supplies, and restocking supply areas.
  • Sixty-six percent cite inadequate staffing levels in their hospitals, saying that limited coverage and clinical support force nurses to divide their time between more patients.
  • Almost half of nurses surveyed reported a nursing shortage at one or more of the units in their hospitals, with 35 percent citing the medical-surgical department as short-staffed, 18 percent pointing to critical care, and 17 percent to the emergency department.
  • A large majority of hospital nurses work overtime. Thirty percent say they work overtime each week, 22 percent say overtime is a monthly occurrence for them, and 11 percent say they work overtime every other month. Just 17 percent say they never work overtime.
  • Nurses in the survey had positive experiences to report with respect to interdisciplinary teamwork, with 70 percent citing excellent or good teamwork with pharmacists, 65 percent with physicians, 64 percent with technicians, 63 percent with nurse practitioners, and 51 percent with physician assistants.
  • Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of hospital nurses in the survey say they feel pressured to influence patient-satisfaction questionnaires, with some expressing worries that their interactions with patients might sound artificial or scripted as a result.

See the survey and read a Becker’s Hospital Review storyabout it.

Many Hospitals Not Following Infection Protocols

A nurse-led study published in the American Journal of Infection Control finds that many hospital clinicians are not adhering to evidence-based guidelines for infection prevention, sometimes because their hospitals do not use checklists and sometimes because clinicians fail to follow procedures.

Patricia Stone, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, Centennial Professor of Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing, examined compliance with infection-prevention policies at 1,653 intensive care units at 975 hospitals across the nation, focusing on central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).

She found that about one in ten hospitals have not established checklists to prevent CLABSIs, while one in four lack checklists for VAP. Where checklists are in place, they are ignored about half of the time, according to the data. “Hospitals aren’t following the rules they put in place themselves to keep patients safe,” Stone said in a news release. “Rules don’t keep patients from dying unless they’re enforced.”

While universally accepted checklists are not yet in place for CAUTIs, hospitals are still encouraged to develop policies to prevent such infections. Nevertheless, Stone found that one in three hospitals have not yet developed such policies.

“We’ve come a long way in understanding what causes health care-associated infections and how to prevent them,” Stone says. “This study shows we still have a long way to go in compliance with well-established, life-saving and cost-saving measures that we know will lower infection rates.”

Read more about Stone’s work to prevent CLBSIs as principal investigator of a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative. Watch a video of Stone discussing the study.

More Coverage of Recent Research About Nursing on the RWJF Website and Human Capital Blog

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.