There is little research from the critical care setting to show that improving the work environment provides another strategy to reduce occurrences of health care‚Äďassociated infections (HAIs). Kelly and colleagues investigated the association between the critical care work environment and nurse-reported patient outcomes (frequency of HAIs). They surveyed more than 3200 adult critical care nurses from 320 hospitals in 4 states over a 3-year period and found the following:

  • Almost half of the nurses reported HAIs occurring frequently (more than once a month).

  • Nurses who worked in better environments reported frequent HAIs 36% to 41% fewer times than did nurses in worse environments.

  • Although causality is cautioned, logically, better work environments should benefit health care providers and patients, and likely reduces health care expenditures.

The authors suggest using the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index (PES-NWI) as a guide to improve...

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