Looking For a Good Hospital? Check Out Nursing Standards, Says New Study

There are few things that are more important than seeing to our own health and the health of loved ones. Yet, when a serious injury or illness strikes, we have no choice but to place trust in the competency and compassion of medical professionals.

Unfortunately, sometimes this trust is violated: thousands of preventable medical mistakes occur every year in the United States. For patients who are harmed or the families of patients who are killed, there are after-the-fact remedies available with the assistance of Colorado medical malpractice attorneys.

But, a focus on prevention can keep medical errors from happening in the first place. According to a new study, one of the best ways to ensure patient safety is by adherence to the highest nursing standards.

Magnet Hospitals Have Better Average Outcomes

The Magnet Recognition Program is an initiative developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center that recognizes hospitals with high-quality nursing. Magnet designation is not easy to attain: it is based largely on empirical quality results that display a facility's innovation, exceptional professional practice and strong leadership in the nursing field.

A study recently published in the Journal of Nursing Administration found that Magnet hospitals, on average, had far higher composite safe practices scores than those that lacked Magnet certification. Magnet facilities consistently tended to have better patient safety track records.

What was the major difference between the highest performing hospitals and their non-certified counterparts? Magnet hospitals typically have more nursing hours per patient, a higher proportion of registered nurses and higher competition levels with other hospitals. According to the authors of the study, having more nurses than necessary to meet minimum patient needs is a key element of implementing the best patient safety practices.

Health Care Provider Responsibility for Medical Mistakes

Patient outcomes are often attributed to heavy hitters in a hospital like surgeons and emergency room doctors. Yet, as the new study shows, the nurses responsible for day to day patient care have just as much to do with treatment results.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical error, contact a medical malpractice attorney. You may be entitled to compensation, and by holding negligent hospitals accountable, you will encourage a stronger focus on patient safety.