Working Conditions of the Nursing Workforce Excerpts from a Policy Roundtable at AcademyHealth's 2003 Annual Research Meeting

Issues related to the nursing workforce are on the agendas of many leading health care organizations. At the AcademyHealth 2003 Annual Research Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., two researchers and two research users participated in a roundtable discussion on the working conditions of the nursing workforce, chaired by Jack Needleman, Ph.D., from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health. Topics included: the interface between researchers and users, the role of nursing in patient safety, lessons from other work environments (such as research on fatigue in the airline industry and the military), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Nursing Care Performance Measures Project, and nursing care at the bedside. The participants began to develop a research agenda that addressed issues such as: solution-oriented patient safety interventions, nursing care teams and team effectiveness, the contribution of advance practice nurses to patient safety and health care outcomes, the impact of information technology on nurse satisfaction and effectiveness, and how to attract faculty to nursing education programs. The discussants noted that the conceptual and theoretical development of nursing research is still elementary and that there are many problems with measurement consistency and data availability. They recommended that academic researchers partner with clinicians in order to advance research into practice.