Nurses' work environments affect patient outcomes, study finds

The state of a nurse's work environment can affect nursing care quality, job satisfaction and patient outcomes, according to a study published in Medical Care.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes & Policy Research in Philadelphia conducted the study. They reviewed 16 years' worth of studies to investigate the relationship between nurse work environment and the following factors: nurse job outcomes, nurse assessments of quality and safety, patient health outcomes, and patient satisfaction.

After reviewing 309 research articles, researchers narrowed their analysis down to 17 articles reporting data from 2,677 hospitals, 141 nursing units, 165,024 nurses and 1,368,420 patients across 22 countries.

Researchers found better work environments were linked to lower odds of negative nurse outcomes, poor safety or quality ratings, and negative patient outcomes. A positive work environment was also linked to higher odds of patient satisfaction.

"Our results support the unique status of the nurse work environment as a foundation for both patient and provider well-being that warrants the resources and attention of health care administrators," lead author Eileen Lake, PhD, MSN, a professor of nursing at Penn and associate director of CHOPR, said in a press release.

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