“Can nurse work environment influence readmission risk?” – a systematic review
Chenjuan Ma,1 Jingjing Shang,2 Patricia W Stone3
1The National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, 2Columbia University School of Nursing, 3Center for Health Policy, Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, NY, USA
Background: Readmissions have been targeted as events that can improve quality of care while reducing health care expenditures. While increasing evidence has linked nurse work environment to various patient outcomes, no systematic review has assessed evidence examining nurse work environment in relation to readmission.
Methods: This review was guided by the Institute of Medicine's Standards for Systematic Reviews. Comprehensive searches were conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO, and were complemented by hand searching. Two reviewers independently completed full-text review and quality assessment using a validated tool.
Results: Ten studies met the inclusion criteria and were included for final review. Various methods were used to measure readmission and nurse work environment, and analyses were conducted at both the patient and hospital levels. Overall, associations between nurse work environment and readmission emerged, and better nurse work environments (particularly higher levels of nurse staffing) were associated with fewer readmissions.
Discussion: The interpretation of results from each study was limited by the differences in variable measures across studies and methodological flaws. The relationship between nurse work environment and readmission needs to be further confirmed by stronger evidence from studies using standardized measures and more rigorous research design.
Keywords: nurse work environment, nurse staffing, readmission, nursing, patient outcome
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