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Vanderbilt nurses score high marks on satisfaction survey

BY: KATHY RIVERS

12/02/2005 - Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurses are significantly happier at work than nurses at other hospitals, according to the National RN Satisfaction Survey conducted by the National Database for Nursing Quality Indicators.

The online survey included feedback from nearly 76,000 nurses at 206 hospitals nationwide.

“The results of this survey are extraordinary in light of the complexities that our staff nurses face in their practice environments every day,” said Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., chief nursing officer and director of patient care services.

“Our nurses orchestrate services and care on behalf of patients and their families in a way that gives them excellent care and service.”

VUMC developed new programs to make the hospital a good place for nurses to make a difference, grow in their positions and pursue additional training, Dubree said.

“We've emphasized leadership opportunities, performance-based career advancement, reviewed our clinical practice methods, applied research and initiated a graduate nurse residency program. It looks like our commitment is paying off.”

This was the first time VUMC participated in a nursing survey of this scope, and it serves as an important step forward in the Medical Center's pursuit of Magnet Recognition, the American Nurses' Credentialing Center's criteria for excellence. Only 186 hospitals in the country have made it through the rigorous application process to earn Magnet status.

During a three-week period this summer, hospital and outpatient nurses were encouraged to complete a comprehensive series of questions regarding work quality issues. Answers were kept strictly confidential and 71 percent of VUMC's 2,200-member nursing staff participated.

VUMC ranked above the national average in 16 different areas related to teamwork, individual orientation and quality of care. Specific questions focused on decision making, whether there is enough time spent with patients, whether there was enough help to lift or move patients and if the nurse responding was having a “good day.” VUMC nurses overwhelmingly responded that they have enough time to complete tasks, discuss approaches and work together with their teams.

While nursing shortages are a big concern throughout health care, VUMC nurses have positive news to share. Survey results show that a majority of nurses (88 percent) plan on staying at VUMC and almost as many (82 percent) are planning to stay on their same unit. Only 4 percent planned to work for another hospital in the near future.

“We are thrilled to know that our nurses are enjoying their jobs and as a result, are providing excellent care to our patients,” said Dubree. “The results reflect the excellent quality of staff and leadership that we are fortunate to have at Vanderbilt.

“The survey also helped us identify some areas for improvement and we've already started working on those.”

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