Reuters on study linking better nursing with better patient outcomes
A 2016 Reuters item highlighted key findings of a new study showing that a better nursing environment means better patient outcomes. Ironically, the piece itself did not fully embrace such an environment, relying mainly on physician comment and understating the credentials of the one nurse it did quote.
January 21, 2016 – Today Reuters ran a short piece by Andrew M. Seaman reporting that a new study showed post-surgical patients have better outcomes, including lower mortality, where there are better nurse staffing and work environments. The JAMA Surgery study identified a group of 35 hospitals that had (1) at least one nurse per bed (that is not further explained) and (2) Magnet status, the multi-factor certification of nursing quality issued by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The study compared outcomes for more than 25,000 surgical patients at those hospitals with an equal number of similar patients at 293 other hospitals that did not meet the two nursing standards. At the hospitals with better nursing environments, fewer patients died within 30 days of arrival at the hospital (4.8 vs. 5.8 percent), a disparity that grew to 3 percentage points for “the least healthy patients”; fewer patients died after having surgical complications (7.5 vs. 8.9 percent); the odds of the patients needing to be in the intensive care unit were roughly half as great; and hospital care was a better value, with the better-nursing hospitals providing the better care at “about the same cost.” The piece has several quotes from lead author Jeffrey Silber, an MD, PhD and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He says the study is for the “referring doctor or health policy analyst.” Leaving nurses themselves out of the referring and policy equations is less than ideal. And so is having two of the three experts quoted in the piece be physicians. At least the second one, University of Michigan surgeon Amir Ghaferi (who co-wrote an editorial on this study) notes that other studies have also found better outcomes at Magnet hospitals. And the lone nurse consulted, Ardith Doorenbos, confirms that “you’re going to see a difference in the amount of care and the quality of care when you have a good nursing environment.” The piece states that Doorenbos is “professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing and investigator at the UW Medicine Surgical Outcomes Research Center in Seattle.” That’s good, although it would have been better to make explicit that she is an RN, PhD, especially since both quoted physicians are identified as “Dr.” (We note that two of Silber’s study co-authors are RN, PhDs.) These flaws are ironic in a piece about the value of nursing. Still, we thank Seaman and Reuters for highlighting this research.
See the article “Surgery patients do better when hospitals are good to nurses,” by Andrew Seaman, published January 21, 2016 by Reuters.
SOURCE: bit.ly/1T9DdOu JAMA Surgery, online January 21, 2016.