Intensive care nurses with poor physical and mental health report more medical errors

Intensive care nurses with poor physical and mental health report more medical errors

“Critical Care Nurses’ Physical and Mental Health, Worksite Wellness Support, and Medical Errors” is published in the American Journal of Critical Care. “It’s critically important that we understand some of the root causes that lead to those errors and do everything we can to prevent them,” said lead author Bernadette Melnyk. She serves as vice president for health promotion, chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State.

The authors quoted research on the prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression and burnout symptoms among critical care nurses as a basis for examining the potential correlation between well-being and medical errors. The study surveyed nearly 800 members of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Bernadette Melnyk, Lead Author

It’s clear that critical care nurses, like so many other clinicians, cannot continue to pour from an empty cup. System problems that contribute to burnout and poor health need to be fixed. Nurses need support and investment in evidence-based programming and resources that enhance their well-being and equip them with resiliency so they can take optimal care of patients.”

Of those surveyed, 61% reported suboptimal physical health, while 51% reported suboptimal mental health.
Study findings included:

Those who reported worse health and well-being had between a 31% to 62% higher likelihood of making medical errors.

Nurses who reported working in places that provided greater support for wellness were more than twice as likely to have better personal health and professional quality of life compared with those whose workplace provided little or no support.

Approximately 40% screened positive for depressive symptoms, and more than 50% screened positive for anxiety.

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