Stressful nurses: the effect on patient outcomes

J Nurs Care Qual. 1996 Apr;10(3):46-58.


The article describes a study that measured, over a 3-month period, staffing problems, including turnover rates; nurse incidents, including absenteeism, back injuries, and needle sticks; and patient incidents, including falls and medication errors. The self-reported stress of the nurses caring for these patients was recorded over the same 3-month period. Data showed that a relatively strong relationship exists between a hospital unit's Stress Continuum Scale (SCS) and the occurrence of patient incidents. The relationship between the SCS and personal incidents and nurse injuries appears weak, as does the relationship between staff turnover and stress. Lagging staff turnover by 1 month resulted in a moderate association with the SCS, however.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Humans
  • Midwestern United States
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Personnel Turnover
  • Psychology, Industrial
  • Risk Management