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The health care work environment and adverse health and safety consequences for nurses.

Geiger-Brown J; Lipscomb J
Annu Rev Nurs Res 2010 Dec; 28(1):191-231
Nurses' working conditions are inextricably linked to the quality of care that is provided to patients and patients' safety. These same working conditions are associated with health and safety outcomes for nurses and other health care providers. This chapter describes aspects of the nursing work environment that have been linked to hazards and adverse exposures for nurses, as well as the most common health and safety outcomes of nursing work. We include studies from 2000 to the present by nurse researchers, studies of nurses as subjects, and studies of workers under similar working conditions that could translate to nurses' work environment. We explore a number of work organization factors including shift work and extended work hours, safety climate and culture, teamwork, and communication. We also describe environmental hazards, including chemical hazards (e.g., waste anesthetics, hazardous drugs, cleaning compounds) and airborne and bloodborne pathogen exposure. Nurses' health and safety outcomes include physical (e.g., musculoskeletal disorders, gastrointestinal, slips, trips and falls, physical assault) and psychosocial outcomes (e.g., burnout, work-family conflict). Finally, we present recommendations for future research to further protect nurses and all health care workers from a range of hazardous working conditions.
Nursing; Nurses; Workers; Work-environment; Safety-measures; Health-care-personnel; Hazards; Exposure-levels; Shift-work; Chemical-reactions; Chemical-properties; Pathogens; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Gastrointestinal-system-disorders; Fall-protection
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Grant; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R21-OH-008392; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008460
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Annual Review of Nursing Research
Performing Organization
University of Maryland - Baltimore
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division