Nursing

SDW news brief: Study links nurse burnout to infection rates

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, August 2, 2012

Reducing the number of burned-out nurses could prevent thousands of cases of hospital-acquired infections annually, according to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania. While inadequate staffing is commonly cited as a cause of patient harm, the study’s researchers claim that a bad work environment, and not just a lack of caregivers, leads to burnout and subsequently affects the quality of care.

The study is among the first to examine why staffing matters, and to use detailed infection data to measure the potential harm, both in terms of patient outcomes and hospital costs. As more insurers hesitate to reimburse the expense of treating preventable infections, the estimated $41 million in savings from lowering nurse burnout rates is substantial. The study is published in the August 2012 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

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