Survey: Nurses Name 3 Barriers to Patient Safety

Nurses have identified three major barriers to improving patient safety in their facilities, according to a survey by GE Healthcare and the American Nurses Association.

Nine hundred practicing registered nurses in the U.S., U.K. and China responded to a survey conducted by Edelman Berland for the GE Healthcare Patient Safety Study. Fourteen in-depth interviews with nurses between Oct. 12 and Nov. 4, 2011 also gave insight into nurses' experiences with patient safety.


Nurses identified the following three barriers to patient safety:

1. Access to technology
•    74 percent of nurses identify "technology/software" as a patient safety initiative in their hospital; 23 percent want such an initiative in their facility.
•    68 percent of nurses believe technological innovation is key to identifying early warning signs of patient risk and alerting staff.
•    67 percent of nurses believe technological innovation is key to improving the effectiveness of patient information communication in hospitals.
•    Only 8 percent of nurses describe their patient safety reporting system as "innovative."
•    59 percent of nurses agree that although patient safety data is collected and reported, nurses do not receive follow-up or feedback.
•    Only 32 percent of nurses say their hospital does an "excellent" job of capturing patient safety data.

2. Hospital culture
•    85 percent of nurses say their hospital has a patient safety culture; however, 60 percent of these nurses say nurses often hesitate to report near-misses for fear of punishment.

3. Communication
•    98 percent of nurses agree communication with the patient is important for patient safety, and 97 percent agree communication with physicians is important for safety.
•    Only 37 percent of nurses say their hospital is excellent at communication with the patient, and only 31 percent say the same for communication between staff.
•    33 percent of nurses say "poor communication among nurses at handoff" has increased the patient safety risk in their hospital in the past year, and 31 percent say "poor communication with doctors" has increased the risk of patient safety incidents.

More Articles on Patient Safety:

Does Patient Safety Culture Always Mean Safe Hospitals? Nurses Say No
Patient Safety Tool: CRE Prevention Guide From CDC

Physician Executive Group Lauds AHRQ's 10 Patient Safety Strategies

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