Magnet Hospitals’ Superior Care Doesn’t Extend to Working Conditions for Nurses
A new study in the July/August issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration finds that the superior record of “magnet” hospitals on patient safety and outcomes does not go hand-in-hand with superior working conditions for nurses.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center has designated about 350 magnet hospitals in the United States, recognizing their status as “exemplar institutions of care.” "If I work in a magnet hospital, with greater autonomy and recognition for nursing, one might think there would be better working conditions as well," says Alison Trinkoff, Sc.D., R.N., F.A.A.N. But when Trinkoff and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Nursing put that proposition to the test, they found little support.
Their analysis used data from the Nurses Worklife and Health Study, including responses from more than 830 nurses at 171 hospitals—14 magnets and 157 non-magnets. They found some differences in mandatory overtime and on-call requirements, but no significant difference in nursing practice environment or perceived patient safety. Their overall conclusion: “Working conditions reported by nurses working in magnet and non-magnet hospital varied little.”
"While the work and role of nursing may be improved because it is a magnet hospital, we found that consideration of nurses' work schedules is not really incorporated into the magnet hospitals,” Trinkoff says. “But it is something that would fit in quite nicely—to create an optimal condition for nursing."
Home Visits by Nurses Help New Moms Avoid Postpartum Depression
Fresh research from the United Kingdom finds that new mothers were 30 percent less likely to develop postpartum depression if, after giving birth, they had home visits from a community nurse with mental health training.
In what is described as the first large-scale randomized trial of such an intervention, U.K. researchers tracked the progress of more than 2,000 new mothers who worked with “home visitors”—community nurses with the National Health Service who provide care to infants and mothers. Many of the nurses had received extra training in assessing and providing help for mental health problems.
New mothers seen by nurses with that extra training were 30 percent less likely to develop depression within six months of giving birth, compared to women receiving regular care. Those improved results persisted a full 18 months after childbirth.
Researchers speculated that the ongoing relationship with the nurses gave mothers a reliable confidant with whom they could discuss problems without fear of stigma, rather than having to raise mental health issues with a doctor or psychologist.