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A National Study Links Nurses’ Physical and Mental Health to Medical Errors and Perceived Worksite Wellness

Melnyk, Bernadette, Mazurek, PhD, RN; Orsolini, Liana, PhD, RN; Tan, Alai, PhD; Arslanian-Engoren, Cynthia, PhD, RN; Melkus, Gail, D’Eramo, EdD, C-NP; Dunbar-Jacob, Jacqueline, PhD, RN; Rice, Virginia, Hill, PhD, RN; Millan, Angelica, DNP, RN; Dunbar, Sandra, B., PhD, RN; Braun, Lynne, T., PhD, CNP; Wilbur, JoEllen, PhD, APN; Chyun, Deborah, A., PhD, RN; Gawlik, Kate, DNP, RN; Lewis, Lisa, M., PhD, RN

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 2 - p 126–131
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001198
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to describe (1) nurses’ physical and mental health; (2) the relationship between health and medical errors; and (3) the association between nurses’ perceptions of wellness support and their health.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive survey was conducted with 1790 nurses across the U.S.

Results: Over half of the nurses reported suboptimal physical and mental health. Approximately half of the nurses reported having medical errors in the past 5 years. Compared with nurses with better health, those with worse health were associated with 26% to 71% higher likelihood of having medical errors. There also was a significant relationship between greater perceived worksite wellness and better health.

Conclusion: Wellness must be a high priority for health care systems to optimize health in clinicians to enhance high-quality care and decrease the odds of costly preventable medical errors.

The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Columbus, Ohio (Drs Melnyk, Tan, Gawlik); Bon Secours Health System, Marriottsville, Maryland (Dr Orsolini); University of Michigan School of Nursing, Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences, Ann Arbor, Michigan (Dr Arslanian-Engoren); New York University College of Nursing, New York, New York (Dr Melkus, Dr Chyun); University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Dunbar-Jacob); Emeritus, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan (Dr Rice); LAC/DPH Children's Medical Services, El Monte, California (Dr Millan); Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Dunbar); Rush University College of Nursing, Chicago, Illinois (Drs Braun, Wilbur); and University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Dr Lewis).

Address correspondence to: Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, The Ohio State University College of Nursing, 1585 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 (Melnyk.15@osu.edu).

Work conducted by the Million Hearts® Subcommittee of the Health Behavior Expert Panel of the American Academy of Nursing.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine