Nurses Commonly Report Adverse Job-Related Outcomes

High patient load, low number of nurses among factors leading to negative outcomes
By Pat F. Bass, M.D.
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Increased patient load, increased frequency of nursing care activities and decreased numbers of nurses per patient all result in more self-reported nursing adverse outcomes, according to a report in the August issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Fatimah Al-Kandari, R.N., of the College of Nursing in A-Shuwaikh, Kuwait, and a colleague surveyed 784 medical and surgical nurses to identify adverse outcomes related to patient load, nursing care activities, staffing and shift rotation.

Among the nurses completing surveys, 53 percent were from medical wards, 44 percent were from surgical wards and 3 percent floated units. Adverse outcomes cited by more than 80 percent of respondents were skipping coffee breaks, feeling responsible for more patients than one could safely care, inadequate help available to lift or move a patient, and inadequate time to document care. Reports of adverse nurse outcomes were more common with increased census, discharges, transfers and numbers of patients assigned to each nurse. Similarly, increased numbers of medication administrations was associated with increased reported adverse outcomes among both medical and surgical nurses and increased self-injury among surgical nurses, the authors note. Increased number of nurses per unit decreased self-reported outcomes, the report indicates.

"Study findings revealed that patient load and frequency of nursing care activities positively correlated to adverse nurse outcomes, whereas staffing negatively correlated to adverse nurse outcomes," the authors write. "Actions must be taken to present nursing as a lifelong attractive career among the young generation. Otherwise, nursing shortage, as being widely expressed by many countries, will continue especially with the creation of more attractive jobs in the labor market."

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