Safety and Quality of Pediatric Care in Freestanding Children's and General Hospitals

Abstract [from journal]

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate quality and safety of care in acute pediatric settings from the perspectives of nurses working at the bedside and to investigate hospital-level factors associated with more favorable quality and safety.

Methods: Using data from a large survey of registered nurses in 330 acute care hospitals, we described nurses' assessments of safety and quality of care in inpatient pediatric settings, including freestanding children's hospitals (FCHs) (n = 21) and general hospitals with pediatric units (n = 309). Multivariate logistic regression models were used to estimate the effects of being a FCH on favorable reports on safety and quality before and after adjusting for hospital-level and nurse characteristics and Magnet status.

Results: Nurses in FCHs were more likely to report favorably on quality and safety after we accounted for hospital-level and individual nurse characteristics; however, adjusting for a hospital's Magnet status rendered associations between FCHs and quality and safety insignificant. Nurses in Magnet hospitals were more likely to report favorably on quality and safety.

Conclusions: Quality and safety of pediatric care remain uneven; however, the organizational attributes of Magnet hospitals explain, in large part, more favorable quality and safety in FCHs compared with pediatric units in general acute care hospitals. Modifiable features of the nurse work environment common to Magnet hospitals hold promise for improving quality and safety of care. Transforming nurse work environments to keep patients safe, as recommended by the National Academy of Medicine 20 years ago, remains an unfinished agenda in pediatric inpatient settings.