Patient safety, satisfaction, and quality of hospital care: cross sectional surveys of nurses and patients in 12 countries in Europe and the United StatesBMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1717 (Published 20 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1717
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Re: Patient safety, satisfaction, and quality of hospital care: cross sectional surveys of nurses and patients in 12 countries in Europe and the United States
Nurses want to provide safe, competent and quality care to patients. Linda H. Aiken et al. has shown through research that this statement is relevant not only in the United States but in various European countries. The data is consistent throughout all countries showing that hospital work environment is directly related to nurse and patient satisfaction and quality and safety of care. Research shows that nurses who experience burnout, dissatisfaction, and high nurse to patient ratios verbalize that they are more likely to resign. These results are congruent to patients who respond that they are least likely to recommend their hospital to a friend or respond less favorably about nurses. I find it interesting that nurse shortages, a problem that we consider prevalent in the United States is graver in other European countries.
According to Hassmiller and Cozine of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an organization that promotes improved health care, there have been cyclical nurse shortages in the U.S. over the past decade (2006). In the year 2000 there were 126,000 job openings for registered nurses and the percentage of nurses working in hospitals dropped from 59 to 54 in four years. Nurses are also avoiding hospital jobs because of its repetition of being high stress and physical burn out (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006). Today hospitalized patients have a higher level of acuity and require an experienced nurse at the bedside. On average nurses will work eight and a half weeks of overtime a year. Hospitals that put high demand on nurses to preform have a poor retention rate. As a mater of fact nurses that are dissatisfied with their job report that they will quit after only three years. As a result fewer people are working in the nursing profession and the nurse shortage worsens (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006).
According to Linda H. Aiken, Germany has the highest nursing staff ratio with thirteen patients to one registered nurse as compared to the U.S. that has an average of 5.3 patients to every nurse. However 46% U.S. nurses report that they are not confident that patients can manage their own care after discharge compared to 31% of German nurses. It seems although U.S. nurses have the least staff ratio they are still not confident in the safety and quality of care being provided.
Hassmiller, S. B., Cozine, M. Addressing The Nurse Shortage To Improve The Quality Of
Patient Care. Health Affairs. Jan 2006. Web. 13, Sept. 25.
Competing interests: No competing interests