BACKGROUND

The health of critical care nurse work environments affects patient and nurse outcomes. The results of the 2018 Critical Care Nurse Work Environment Study are reported here with comparisons to previous studies and recommendations for continued improvement.

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the current state of critical care nurse work environments.

METHODS

An online survey was used to collect quantitative and qualitative data for this mixed-methods study. A total of 8080 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) members and constituents responded to the survey.

RESULTS

The health of critical care nurse work environments has improved since the previous study in 2013; however, there are still areas of concern and opportunities for improvement. Key findings include documented absence of appropriate staffing by more than 60% of participants; an alarming number of physical and mental well-being issues (198 340 incidents reported by 6017 participants); one-third of the participants expressed intent to leave their current positions in the next 12 months; and evidence of the positive outcomes of implementing the AACN Healthy Work Environment standards.

CONCLUSION

Evidence of the relationship between healthy nurse work environments and patient and nurse outcomes continues to increase. The results of this study provide evidence of the positive relationship between implementation of the AACN Healthy Work Environment standards and the health of critical care nurse work environments, between the health of critical care nurse work environments and job satisfaction, and between job satisfaction and the intent of critical care nurses to leave their current positions or stay.

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