RN assessments of excellent quality of care and patient safety are associated with significantly lower odds of 30-day inpatient mortality: A national cross-sectional study of acute-care hospitals

Int J Nurs Stud. 2016 Sep;61:117-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2016.06.005. Epub 2016 Jun 16.


Background: Quality and safety in health care has been increasingly in focus during the past 10-15 years. Stakeholders actively discuss ways to measure safety and quality of care to improve the health care system as a whole. Defining and measuring quality and safety, however, is complicated. One underutilized resource worthy of further exploration is the use of registered nurses (RNs) as informants of overall quality of care and patient safety. However, research is still scarce or lacking regarding RN assessments of patient safety and quality of care and their relationship to objective patient outcomes.

Objective: To investigate relationships between RN assessed quality of care and patient safety and 30-day inpatient mortality post-surgery in acute-care hospitals.

Design: This is a national cross-sectional study.

Data sources: A survey (n=>10,000 RNs); hospital organizational data (n=67); hospital discharge registry data (n>200,000 surgical patients).

Data collection and analysis: RN data derives from a national sample of RNs working directly with inpatient care in surgical/medical wards in acute-care hospitals in Sweden in 2010. Patient data are from the same hospitals in 2009-2010. Adjusted multivariate logistic regression models were used to estimate relationships between RN assessments and 30-day inpatient mortality.

Results: Patients cared for in hospitals where a high proportion of RNs reported excellent quality of care (the highest third of hospitals) had 23% lower odds of 30-day inpatient mortality compared to patients cared for in hospitals in the lowest third (OR 0.77, CI 0.65-0.91). Similarly, patients in hospitals where a high proportion of RNs reported excellent patient safety (highest third) had is 26% lower odds of death (OR 0.74, CI 0.60-0.91).

Conclusions: RN assessed excellent patient safety and quality of care are related to significant reductions in odds of 30-day inpatient mortality, suggesting that positive RN reports of quality and safety can be valid indicators of these key variables.

Keywords: Hospitals; Mortality; Patient safety; Quality of health care; Registered nurses.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital
  • Patient Safety*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Young Adult