Monday, October 11, 2010

Guest Blogger: INQRI Grantee Linda Flynn on the IFN Report

I am honored that our study quantifying the predictors of medication errors was cited in the new IOM report as an example of how nurses, when supported by their work environments, improve patient safety and reduce adverse events. I am particularly excited that the nursing leadership in one of the participating hospitals acted upon our study recommendations, and has now received grant funding to implement and test an intervention to reduce nurses’ interruptions during medication administration. This seems to be an example of how well-educated nursing leadership in clinical settings can translate research into value-added practices that keep patients safe.

The new IOM report also recommends that organizational barriers to nursing practice must be reduced or eliminated, and that the leadership skills of nurses must be enhanced. Both of these recommendations are relevant to our research, and help to position it for maximum impact. Studies conducted by our team join the growing body of research indicating that organizational environments that are not supportive of professional nursing practice are not only fairly common in hospitals, nursing homes, home health, and other patient care settings, but that they diminish nurses’ abilities to practice in ways that promote quality and safety. Our current study, funded by INQRI, translates this evidence into practice by implementing a leadership program designed to enhance front line managers’ skills in creating and sustaining nursing practice environments that support the important patient-centered work of nurses.

Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, BC, is the Associate Dean for Graduate Education in the College of Nursing at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  She received funding from the INQRI program for her project, "Examining the Impact of Nursing Structures and Processes on Medication Errors" from 2007-2009.  Recently, she was selected as a member of INQRI's latest cohort of grantees with her new study, "Creation of a Nurse Manager Development Program to Increase Patient Safety."

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