Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nurse Burn-Out and Infections

A new study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, presents the work of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, who analyzed nurses' attitudes related to their work.  The team compared a hospital's percentage of "burned-out" nurses to its rates of surgical site infections and catheter associated urinary tract infections.  They found that every 10% increase in the number of high-burnout nurses correlated with two additional surgical site infections and one additional catheter associated urinary tract infection per 1,000 patients annually.

The INQRI program has also generated evidence that depression among nurses could have an impact on patient safety.  INQRI researchers Sue Letvak, Chris Ruhm, and their team evaluated the influence of presenteeism (decreased productivity due to health problems) on hospital registered nurses' quality of patient care.  The team found that pain and depression were significantly associated with presenteeism and that presenteeism was significantly associated with patient falls, medication errors and the perceived quality of care.

Of course, INQRI research has also shown that nurses can have a strong impact on keeping patients safe from infections.  Led by David Thompson and Jill Marsteller, a team at Johns Hopkins conducted the first randomized-control trial to reduce central line associated blood stream infections among ICU patients. This study, conducted in ICUs in 12 states, has shown that substantial reductions in infections can be widely achieved and this project did so with nurses leading the infection control efforts.

An INQRI team led by Eileen Lake and Jeannette Rogowski has demonstrated the importance of nurse staffing and the professional practice environment in preventing infection among tiny babies in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Their findings show that babies in units where nurses have less support and limited professional practice are at higher risk of developing infections. Higher levels of NICU experience are associated with better infant outcomes.


  1. Is this the study referred to in the news article:
    Nurse staffing, burnout, and health care–associated infection
    Jeannie P. Cimiotti, Linda H. Aiken, Douglas M. Sloane, Evan S. Wu August 2012 American Journal of Infection Control Vol. 40, Issue 6, Pages 486-490


  2. Yes. This is the PubMed link for that article: