Nurses Shown to Be Accurate Judges of Hospital Quality

Nurses may be accurate and reliable judges of the quality of care delivered at the hospitals in which they work, according to results from a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded study.


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For the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing analyzed existing data for hospitals in California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The data included nurses' reports on quality of care from the Multi-State Nursing Care and Patient Safety Study, patient assessments of care from CMS' Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, hospitals' reports on care measures for heart failure, pneumonia, acute myocardial infarction and surgical care and administrative data on mortality and failure to rescue.

In addition, nurses were asked to rate the quality of nursing care delivered to patients in their unit as excellent, good, fair or poor.

The researchers found that nurses' reports of excellent quality care correlated with higher levels of patient satisfaction, better scores for processes of care and better results with regard to mortality and failure to rescue. For every additional 10 percent in the proportion of nurses reporting that the quality of care on their unit was excellent, there was a 3.7 point increase in the percent of patients who would recommend the hospital and a five percent decrease in the odds of mortality and failure to rescue for surgical patients.

The researchers concluded nurses, in addition to patients, may be a valuable source of information on quality of care.

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