Positive nurse environments promote patient safety

Study finds Magnet hospitals more likely to adopt safety protocols

Hospitals that meet high nursing standards are more likely to adopt patient safety protocols, according to a study in the Journal of Nursing Administration.

For the study, University of Georgia researchers and colleagues compared National Quality Forum (NQF) safe practice implementation at 140 of the 383 U.S. hospitals with "Magnet Hospital" designations from the American Nurses Credentialing Center to safe practice implementation at 1,320 non-Magnet hospitals. Magnet hospitals are selected for successfully creating high-quality practice environments for nurses. Such facilities generally boast high RN retention rates and positive work environments, NurseWeek reports.

The researchers determined each hospital's composite safe practice score based on compliance with NQF's 30 evidence-based practices to improve patient safety. They found that Magnet hospitals in 2004 had an average composite safe practice score of 862 points, significantly higher than non-Magnet hospitals, which had an average composite safe practice score of 794 points. In 2006, Magnet hospitals had a composite score of 928 points, while non-Magnet hospitals had 892 points.

The researchers found that the number of nurse hours per patient, the number of RNs on staff, and competition with other hospitals influenced NQF safe practice adoption. According to study author Jayani Jayawardhana, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia's College of Public Health, "having more nurses than necessary to meet minimum patient safety needs is key to adopting these practices, which require activities like conducting meetings, collective and analyzing data, and reviewing the literature on safe practices" (Fiore, MedPage Today, 10/1; NurseWeek, 9/29).

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