Preliminary Results Are In: 2018 AACN National Work Environment Survey

Workplace conditions can impact patient care, outcomes and job satisfaction. These critical components are up for examination in the latest AACN work environment survey.Facilitators Beth Ulrich, professor at Cizik School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and editor of Nephrology Nursing Journal; Linda Cassidy, AACN clinical practice specialist – strategic advocacy; and Connie Barden, AACN chief clinical officer, presented the preliminary findings of “2018 AACN National Survey of Critical Care Nurse Work Environments.”

The session “Critical Care Nurse Workplace: Preliminary Results of the 2018 AACN Healthy Work Environment Survey” included the study background, results and implications. Approximately 7,700 nurses responded to work environment questions on staffing, job satisfaction, safety and more.

“In general, the results are an improvement over the 2013 study but not always as positive as the 2006 and 2008 studies,” Ulrich said. “There has been progress in some areas of the work environment, but I believe the results are also influenced by the changes and uncertainty in the healthcare industry as a whole.”

Preliminary findings of the 2018 survey show that respondents feel appropriate staffing is an area that needs improvement. Inappropriate staffing has negative effects on patient care and affects nurses intent on leaving their positions.

Ulrich said, “Fifty-four percent of the survey participants plan to leave their current position in the next three years.”
Yet nurses from Beacon units (and units on the journey to becoming Beacon) report healthier work environments, are more satisfied in their current positions and are less likely to indicate they might leave their organizations. “More critical care units need to meet Beacon unit standards,” Ulrich added.

“We want critical care nurses to understand the positive effects of a healthy work environment for patients, nurses and organizations, and to actively engage in improving the environments in which they work. Creating and maintaining a healthy work environment is everyone’s responsibility,” she said.