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More nurses mean fewer heart attack deaths

It turns out nurses are good for the heart. Provided they aren’t overworked and underappreciated.

A study published in The Journal of Medical Care found that 85% of patients who suffer an in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) die before being discharged. This is despite the fact that 80% of IHCA cases are witnessed and 88% of patients were on cardiac monitoring equipment when the attack happened.

Nurses are typically the first to witness and respond to IHCA cases, making them crucial in a patient’s survival. It was found that each additional patient per nurse decreased a patient’s chances of surviving an IHCA by 5% and that a poor work environment dropped a patient’s chances of survival by 16%.

Researchers suggest improving nurse staffing in general medical-surgical units to increase IHCA survival rates. Medical-surgical units have the most variable staffing levels and would benefit the most with more nurses. Improving staffing may be difficult for some hospitals because of costs, though some of the pressure can be alleviated by hiring temporary nurses.

Patient safety: What is your definition?

What is patient safety? Is it a philosophy, a metric, a program? Similar to accountability and just culture, many healthcare organizations are struggling to translate these commonly used buzz words and popular patient safety initiatives into behaviors and beliefs that are important and therefore practiced at the bedside.

Patient safety means something to all levels of the organization that I believe should start at the bedside and work its way up. Patient safety is the beliefs, behaviors, norms, and environment where patient care can be provided error free, and where safety is placed ahead of all other priorities. [more]

Is moral distress a nursing epidemic?

Being a nurse can be empowering. You and your staff have the knowledge to ease pain, heal injury, fight disease, and save lives. And at times, you may feel that nurses—more than anyone else—know what is best for patients. [more]