Benefits of Healthy Work Environments: A New AACN Study

Team Doctors in a meeting

Registered nurses require workplaces that are secure, healthy, empowering, and fulfilling because they work as healthcare professionals in demanding environments. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an adverse effect on nurses, and new research from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) highlights the advantages of creating and maintaining healthy work environments (HWEs) to support nurse staffing, retention, and the best possible patient care.

Before the print edition of Critical Care Nurse's October 2022 issue, the results of the fifth nationwide survey of nurses conducted by the AACN have been published online (CCN). Key findings from the AACN survey of more than 9,000 nurses are included in "National Nurse Work Environments - October 2021: A Status Report," which also makes recommendations for improvement and compares the findings to earlier research.

Advantages of a Healthy Work Environment

Since the 2018 report, the condition of nurse work conditions has drastically deteriorated. However, there is evidence of a positive relationship between the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Healthy Work Environment Standards' implementation and the well-being of nurse work environments, as well as between job satisfaction and nurses' intentions to leave or stay in their current positions.

The six core criteria of AACN offer principles for success based on research. The healthiest workplaces incorporate all six criteria to assist nurses and patients achieve successful and long-lasting outcomes.

There is no disputing the relationship between safe working conditions, nurse recruitment and retention, and patient safety. The AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments outline the essential elements for success: competent decision-making, proper staffing, meaningful recognition, and genuine leadership.

Promoting Positive Work Environments for Nurses

There is a persistent effort to enhance the working conditions for nurses and other healthcare professionals. American Nurses Association (ANA) stated that when essential workplace standards and circumstances are in place, nurses execute to the best of their abilities. The group, which advocates for the rights of over 4 million registered nurses, developed a Nurses' Bill of Rights outlining the best practices for nursing environments that are advantageous to both patients and healthcare professionals. According to the ANA, the document lays out a framework that businesses can use to create policies and procedures about fundamental rights at work.

In fact, fostering a healthy work environment (HWE) enables nurses to deliver the greatest caliber of compassionate patient care while feeling satisfied at work. In reality, AACN's research repeatedly demonstrates that HWE-implemented units perform better than those that aren't in numerous respects. These include of the overall condition of the workplace, improved nurse staffing and retention, a decrease in moral turbulence, and a decline in workplace violence.

Nurses have the ability to be pioneers in advancing health and medical care for all, but in order to do so, they need to work in a setting that is secure, empowering, and fulfilling. The application of nurses' expertise, skills, and clinical knowledge is challenged in a positive work environment. Additionally, in such a setting, nurses are encouraged to give patients great nursing care.

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