When developing quality and safety policies, nurse input may be overlooked

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Nursing assessments regarding the quality and safety of hospital care are a predictive indicator of hospital mortality rates, according to a new study published in Nursing Studies. The study's authors suggest these assessments could be used as an overall hospital quality indicator and subsequently inform policy decisions.

To determine the accuracy of nursing assessments on quality, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm compared data on more than 200,000 surgical procedures performed in 2010 at 67 hospitals across Sweden with survey data from more than 10,000 nurses who worked in the facilities.

Researchers found that hospitals given high marks on patient safety and care quality from nurses displayed lower rates of mortality in patients admitted within 30 days. The top third of performing hospitals — as assessed by nurses — had 23 percent lower odds of a patient dying within the first 30 days after admission when compared with the bottom third.

"Our results are consistent with work in other healthcare contexts adding to the study's generalizability and providing further validation that positive registered nurse reports pertaining to quality and safety can be valid indicators of overall hospital quality and patient safety," wrote the authors. "This has important implications, suggesting that hospital RNs are an underused resource in informing policy decisions regarding quality and safety."

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