Staffing remains major concern for critical care nurses, survey finds

Appropriate staffing continues to be a major concern for critical care nurses, with only 39 percent of nurses saying they have the right number of nurses with the right knowledge and skills over 75 percent of the time, a study published in Critical Care Nurse found.

The two elements in the survey specific to appropriate staffing were "RN staffing ensures the effective match between patient needs and nurse competencies" and "there are formal processes to evaluate the effect of staffing decisions on patient and system outcomes."

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses surveyed more than 8,000 nurses about their work environments. The researchers found the health of nurses' work environments has improved over the last few years, but areas of concern and opportunities for improvement remain.

Nurses said they are highly satisfied with nursing as a career but less satisfied with their current jobs, with 54 percent of respondents saying they plan to leave their current position within three years.

Over 6,000 respondents (86 percent) reported experiencing at least one negative incident of verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual harassment or discrimination in the last year. Patients and their families were the most frequently reported source of abuse.

"Healthy work environments are everyone's responsibility — from the bedside to the boardroom," said principal investigator Beth Ulrich, RN. "Creating healthy working environments requires changing long-standing cultures, traditions and hierarchies. The benefits to doing so are increasingly clear, as are the consequences from inaction."

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control:
Most new nurses work 12-hour shifts, some have second jobs
ANA on nurse's reckless homicide charge: Criminalizing medical errors may deter future reporting
Nurses questioned Mount Carmel physician accused of fatal medication orders, former colleague says

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