The Importance of a High-Performance Work Environment in Hospitals

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The Issue

Health care workplaces that empower nurses and promote collaboration tend to produce greater job satisfaction and better patient outcomes, including lower mortality rates. Less is known, however, about whether the benefits of a supportive work environment extend to other health care providers. Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers examined how other health professionals—including doctors, physicians' assistants, and rehabilitation therapists—perceived their workplace culture, and whether those perceptions were linked to retention, job satisfaction, turnover, and care quality as measured by patient ratings and adverse medical events.


What the Study Found

Using data collected from nine hospitals in Upstate New York, the researchers found that a supportive health care environment—as reported by multiple occupational groups on a unit—is associated with higher ratings of hospitals stays by patients and with fewer adverse medical events.

Providers in more supportive work environments also reported higher levels of professional empowerment and greater levels of collaborative influence. Moreover, there was a significant association between a "high-performance" work environment and retention-related indicators.


Conclusions

The results underscore the importance of engaging and empowering all hospital frontline staff as a means of improving quality, retention, and job satisfaction.

Publication Details

Publication Date:
August 17, 2012
Authors:
Dana Beth Weinberg, Ph.D., Ariel Chanan Avgar, Ph.D., Noreen M. Sugrue, and Dianne Cooney-Miner, Ph.D., R.N.
Summary Writer:
Sarah Klein
Citation:

D. B. Weinberg, A. C. Avgar, N. M. Sugrue et al., "The Importance of a High Performance Work Environment in Hospitals," Health Services Research, published online June 20, 2012.