Healthy, Healthful, and Healing Environments: impact on nurse fatigue and patient safety

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 3:05 PM

Sharon M. Weinstein, MS, RN, CRNI, FAAN
Core Consulting Group and GEDI, Global Education Development Institute and the University of Illinois, Buffalo Grove, IL

Stress is a fact of life for many nurses working in today's healthcare environment.  It affects fatigue, safety, retention, and outcomes.  Healthcare leaders have been challenged by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), other professional societies, and regulatory agencies to develop and sustain healthy work environments that support the professional practice of nursing.  Magnet designation, the Beacon award, and other organizational structures and cultures led by authentic and transformational leaders have been the stimulus to ensure that workplaces are healthy and healthful. How nurses feel, and how they perform, have an definite impact on patient safety and health outcomes.  And, we can do more, collaboratively, to create a win-win situation for all.  The positive effect of healing environments on patient and provider outcomes has caused many healthcare leaders to develop healing attributes within their philosophies of care and organizational cultural initiatives.  Key to the success of such a program is a commitment to workplace wellness and work-life balance.  Nurses can, and should, assume responsibility for part of the process through a commitment to self-care.  Individual nurses can develop strategies to counter fatigue, including managing sleep, breaks, and the shifts and hours worked.  Employers can do their part by instituting the use of fatigue countermeasures that include appropriate scheduling and by embracing the concept of workplace wellness and ensuring a more effective work environment for nurses and a safer environment for patients.  The presenter connects the dots between stressful work, nurses' wellness, and patient safety.