Category Archives: Health Care Workers

Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions

Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2009

From the press release:
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), along with leaders from Catholic health care and the labor movement, released “guidance and options” for creating a fair process for health care workers to decide whether or not to form a union. Outlined in a new document entitled Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions, the principles reflect a unique and ground-breaking consensus between Catholic health care employers and unions and are the result of a dialogue that began more than a decade ago.

Nursing: A Key To Patient Satisfaction

Source: Ann Kutney-Lee, Matthew D. McHugh, Douglas M. Sloane, Jeannie P. Cimiotti, Linda Flynn, Donna Felber Neff, and Linda H. Aiken, Health Affairs, Vol. 28 no. 4, published online 12 June 2009
(subscription required)

Patient satisfaction is receiving greater attention as a result of the rise in pay-for-performance (P4P) and the public release of data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey. This paper examines the relationship between nursing and patient satisfaction across 430 hospitals. The nurse work environment was significantly related to all HCAHPS patient satisfaction measures. Additionally, patient-to-nurse workloads were significantly associated with patients’ ratings and recommendation of the hospital to others, and with their satisfaction with the receipt of discharge information. Improving nurses’ work environments, including nurse staffing, may improve the patient experience and quality of care.

Violence, Job Satisfaction, and Employment Intentions Among Home Healthcare Registered Nurses

Source: Allison N. Canton, Martin F. Sherman, Lori A. Magda, Leah J. Westra, Julie M. Pearson, Victoria H. Raveis, Robyn Gershon, Home Healthcare Nurse. Vol. 27 no. 6, June 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Workplace violence, defined as violent acts directed toward workers, includes physical assault, threat of assault, and verbal abuse and is widely recognized as a threat to workers’ health and safety. Healthcare workers, especially nurses, are known to be at high risk. As employees who work alone, have access to drugs, provide care to people in distress, and/or have frequent close contact with clients, they face a greater likelihood of exposure to violence. Nurses’ risk has been correlated with degree of patient contact; the odds of physical violence are 7.2 and 9.0 times greater for healthcare workers with moderate and high patient contact, respectively, compared with those with little or no contact.

HITS beyond: Disaster simulation can help major cities, hospitals plan

Source: Andis Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, June 4, 2009
(subscription required)

Computer simulations can be used to improve U.S. hospital disaster preparations, according to a study in the American Medical Association’s Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal which modeled a release of poisonous sarin vapor in Manhattan public transportation centers that had the potential to expose some 22,000 people to its harmful effects leading to 178 intensive-care unit admissions. Researchers used population statistics, and plugged in data on the New York City borough’s healthcare resources such as available hospital beds, emergency department services, hospital surge capacity, variable exposure effects, and behavioral and psycho-social characteristics to mimic response to an attack. According to the simulation report, “A Novel Approach to Multihazard Modeling and Simulation,” (subscription required) implementing disaster plans within 30 minutes compared to two hours diminished mortality and waiting times and reduced the number of patients who were severely affected.

Infection Control Cutbacks Cost Patients and Hospitals

Source: Amanda Sounart, AMN Healthcare News, 2009

As economic woes continue to plague U.S. hospitals, one of the areas seeing the deepest cutbacks is infection prevention. Leading epidemiologists point out that these budget cuts could become detrimental to both patient care and the financial health of hospitals.

According to a recent APIC survey of 2,000 hospital infection preventionists, 41 percent of respondents have experienced budget cuts within the last 18 months.

Infection preventionists are instrumental in reducing HAIs among inpatients. They survey infection rates, educate hospital staff on new and emerging infections and implement methods of infection prevention. A reduction in staff infection preventionists could lead to greater HAI rates, more deaths and mounting costs.

Doing More With More?

Source: Gregg Blesch, Modern Healthcare, Vol. 39 no. 21, May 25, 2009

Hospitals face renewed calls for staffing mandates while dealing with recession-related workforce cuts.

An alliance of nurses unions rallied in Washington this month for new workplace regulations in hospitals–an agenda the unions and other nurse advocacy groups have had mixed results in pushing piecemeal state by state.

Nurse-Developed Protocols Help Hospitals Decrease MRSA Rates

Source: Marcia Frellick,, May 18, 2009

In contrast to the widely publicized reports of the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in hospital settings in recent years, a new study finds a striking bit of success in fighting the bacteria.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that from 1997 through 2007, MRSA central line-associated bloodstream infections declined by 50% among all ICU types except pediatric units, where incidence rates remained stable. The decline among the more than 1,600 facilities that participated in the study, reported in the Feb. 18 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, runs counter to the widespread perception that the disease is infiltrating hospital ICUs unable to control the superbug. Such perceptions have prompted legislatures in several states to call for mandatory screening, which is controversial in whether that precaution is effective or necessary.