Hospital Infections Linked to Burned Out Nurses
What's needed, Cimiotti says, are "organizational climate" changes in hospitals that prevent nurse burnout.
"We have to foster a climate where there is a good inter-professional relationship between nurses and nurses and between nurses and doctors. We need an organizational climate where nurses are well respected within in the facility that they have a voice in the organization and are autonomous and are allowed to practice to full extent.
Fellow author Linda Aiken of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, says that "Nurses are responsible for everybody else's infection control as well as their own. They have to remind everyone in the clinical area, families and doctors," who come near the patient. "And if they're burned out, it erodes their vigilance and capacity to provide surveillance on everybody else."
In conclusion, the authors wrote, "Healthcare-associated infections are associated with morbidity, mortality, and enormous costs to healthcare facilities, and insurance providers nationwide are denying payment for costs associated with these infections.
"Based on our finding that the staffing-infection relationship is mediated by job-related burnout, practitioners should work to implement organizational changes known to build job engagement, such as educational interventions, performance feedback, and social support, as strategies to reduce nurse burnout and thereby help control infections in acute care facilities."
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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