A National Study Links Nurses' Physical and Mental Health to Medical Errors and Perceived Worksite Wellness

J Occup Environ Med. 2018 Feb;60(2):126-131. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001198.


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe (1) nurses' physical and mental health; (2) the relationship between health and medical errors; and (3) the association between nurses' perceptions of wellness support and their health.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive survey was conducted with 1790 nurses across the U.S.

Results: Over half of the nurses reported suboptimal physical and mental health. Approximately half of the nurses reported having medical errors in the past 5 years. Compared with nurses with better health, those with worse health were associated with 26% to 71% higher likelihood of having medical errors. There also was a significant relationship between greater perceived worksite wellness and better health.

Conclusion: Wellness must be a high priority for health care systems to optimize health in clinicians to enhance high-quality care and decrease the odds of costly preventable medical errors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Perception
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Workplace / psychology*
  • Young Adult