Patient safety is related to the quality of a facility's work environment for nurses, new research suggests. In a study, about 8,600 Canadian nurses rated their nursing work life and levels of burnout and reported the frequency of adverse patient events. Results indicate that nursing leadership plays an important part in preventing nurse burnout through its influence on facility policies, staffing levels, support for a nursing model of care rather than a medical model, and nurse/physician collaboration.
Researchers found that adverse patient events were strongly correlated with understaffing, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalization. They say the study results are "consistent with the notion that patient-safety outcomes are associated with the quality of the nursing practice work environment and that the burnout/engagement process plays an important mediating role." They conclude that nurses who feel their work environment supports professional practice are more engaged in their work, leading to safe, high-quality patient care.
The impact of nursing work environments on patient safety outcomes: The mediating role of burnout/engagement, Journal of Nursing Administration, HK Spence Laschinger, MP Leiter, May 2006.