Occupational safety in hospital nursing: organizational contexts

Thursday, November 11, 2010
Dr. Sean Clarke
RBC Chair in Cardiovascular Nursing Research

This plenary was held on Thursday, November 11.

Hospital nurses, like many other providers of health and human services, work in complex organizations, collaborate extensively with a number of different disciplines, and both their work experience and the quality of their clients’ outcomes is heavily influenced by layers of contexts, including the management and policy decisions. Health care as an industry is in a profound state of uncertainty with escalating costs and unrelenting demand joining uncertainty in the stability of financing and the long-term ability of workforce supply to meet demand. After outlining a framework for thinking about organizational context in relation to nurse and patient outcomes in hospital settings, results from a series of studies examining incidence and predictors (both worker and organizational characteristics) of needlestick injuries — at one time a serious occupational health risk in hospital nurses — will be presented in addition to some work regarding psychosocial outcomes (notably burnout and job satisfaction) and patient health outcomes in relation to organizational context. The presentation will then conclude by discussing historical and newer workforce and workforce policy developments related to potential applications of this research, as well as directions for future study.