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Understanding the Complexity of Registered Nurse Work in Acute Care Settings

Ebright, Patricia R. DNS, RN; Patterson, Emily S. PhD; Chalko, Barbara A. MSN, RN; Render, Marta L. MD

Journal of Nursing Administration: December 2003 - Volume 33 - Issue 12 - p 630-638

Nursing shortages and patient safety mandates require nursing managers and administrators to consider new ways of understanding the complexity of healthcare provider work in actual situations. The authors report findings from a study guided by an innovative research approach to explore factors affecting registered nurse performance during real work on acute care medical-surgical units. Our findings suggest beginning targets for interventions to improve patient safety, as well as recruitment and retention, through support for registered nurse work.

Authors’ affiliations: Assistant Professor (Dr Ebright), Clinical Instructor (Ms Chalko), Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, Ind; Research Physical Scientist (Dr Patterson), Director (Dr Render), Veterans Administration Getting at Patient Safety Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Corresponding author: Patricia R. Ebright, DNS, RN, Indiana University School of Nursing, 1111 Middle Dr, NU 412, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5107 (

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.