Healthcare News & Insights

Nurses’ perceptions of patient care mirror reality at hospitals

If you want an accurate indication of how your hospital’s doing, just ask your nurses.

According to a new study published in the journal Research in Nursing and Health, the opinions nurses hold about their hospital’s care are closely aligned with the hospital’s actual performance in meeting various quality measures.

The study, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program and the National Institute of Nursing Research, looked at quality reports from nurses in hospitals in four states: New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Researchers looked at the hospitals’ performance in several quality measures and compared it to nurses’ perceptions of the hospital. After looking at reports from over 16,000 nurses in nearly 400 hospitals, they found that a higher proportion of nurses from hospitals who were nationally recognized for their care gave their hospitals high marks.

In fact, for every 10% of nurses reporting excellent quality care at their hospitals, mortality rates for patients at their hospitals were lower, as was the likelihood of post-surgical complications. Surgical patients experienced better outcomes overall.

Additionally, patient satisfaction scores were higher at these hospitals, as were composite care scores for conditions such as heart attacks and pneumonia.

Staff feedback matters

This info illustrates the importance of getting everyone’s opinion about your hospital’s safety culture and performance, from the top down. Staffers on the front lines have unique insights that are necessary when crafting policies to improve patient care and safety.

Since nurses interact with patients every day, and directly observe the results of their care, their feedback can be valuable when it comes to evaluating your hospital’s effectiveness in providing treatment.

Consider distributing a survey among your nurses to gauge their opinion on the quality of your hospital’s patient care and encourage suggestions about what needs improvement.

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