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Study: Nurses' physical, mental health connected to preventable medical errors

The study was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A study led by The Ohio State University College of Nursing finds that critical care nurses in poor physical and mental health reported significantly more medical errors than nurses in better health.

The study, which was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, also found that “nurses who perceived that their worksite was very supportive of their well-being were twice as likely to have better physical health.”

Study findings published in the American Journal of Critical Care.

The authors quoted research on the prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression and burnout symptoms among critical care nurses as a basis for examining the potential correlation between well-being and medical errors. The study surveyed nearly 800 members of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Study findings included:

  • Of those surveyed, 61% reported suboptimal physical health, while 51% reported suboptimal mental health.
  • Approximately 40% screened positive for depressive symptoms and more than 50% screened positive for anxiety.
  • Those who reported worse health and well-being had between a 31% to 62% higher likelihood of making medical errors.
  • Nurses who reported working in places that provided greater support for wellness were more than twice as likely to have better personal health and professional quality of life than those whose workplace provided little or no support.

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Editor's Note: The below video is from a previously published story