February 28, 2024

Engaging ward nurses in optimized assessments improves hospital safety

Editor's Note

Evidence-informed and specialty-specific models of nursing assessment and ward redesign can benefit hospital safety, according to a study published January 27 in the International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Called the ENCORE (evidence-based nursing core assessment) trial, the large-scale study led by Queensland University of Technology included 29,385 patient admissions in 29 general wards across five major Australian hospitals over a 12-month period. Researchers showed how ward nursing physical assessment can be optimized to enhance hospital safety. The study shifted the focus of nursing assessment from routine patient observations of vital signs to more purposeful and recurring physical assessment.

Empowering ward staff to assess and act on early change in patient conditions led to greater collaboration and improved patient outcomes. On the intervention wards, the rate of medical emergency team rescues was 40% lower. The study also revealed a lower risk of mortality among patients with no comorbidities. In addition, for at-risk patients, intervention ward nurses mobilized more emergency rescues and intensive care admissions. 

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