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AACN Advanced Critical Care

June 2012, Volume 23 Number 2 , p 128 - 132


  • Nancy Blake RN, MN, CCRN, NEA-BC
  • Marilyn Mills RN, BC, BSN
  • Vanessa Guerrero RN, BSN, CPN
  • Nancy Blake RN, MN, CCRN, NEA-BC; Department Editor


Approximately 2 years ago, the radiology nursing staff at a children's hospital was facing some major challenges that needed to be addressed. A new magnetic resonance imaging machine was installed because of the growing demand for this service, thereby increasing practice volume. The department went through some major reconstruction, including the recovery space in which the nurses worked, but the nurses were not consulted about the design for the recovery space, which affected workflow and added demand for nursing recovery time. The nurse manager was contemplating a new role in the hospital, and she was working on numerous projects that kept her busy outside the department. During the construction, her office was moved to a different floor, and she was not easily accessible to the staff. In addition, an anesthesiologist who worked collaboratively with the nursing staff for many years moved to another part of the country. All of these changes created stress in the department. Because of this increased stress, the staff were not working as collaboratively together as they had in the past, and tensions were high on a daily basis, thus resulting in a work environment that was less than optimal. Therefore, the nurses wanted to work on improving it.One of the staff nurses on the unit attended a presentation at a housewide recruitment and retention council meeting about practical tools to assess the work environment and things that could be done to improve it. She learned about the AACN Healthy Work Environment Assessment Tool1 and asked whether the radiology nurses could complete it. In March 2010, she took the responsibility as the administrator for the assessment and signed the unit up to participate on the AACN Web site.The AACN Healthy Work Environment Standards are skilled communication, true collaboration, effective decision making, appropriate staffing, meaningful recognition, and authentic leadership.2 The Healthy Work Environment Assessment Tool is a screening tool

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