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1.  Organization of nursing care in three Nordic countries: relationships between nurses’ workload, level of involvement in direct patient care, job satisfaction, and intention to leave 
BMC Nursing  2014;13:27.
Health care systems in Finland, Norway and Sweden share many similarities, e.g. full-coverage and tax-financed, with predominately public sector hospitals. Despite similarities, there are differences in the working situations for RNs within these Nordic countries. The aim of this study was to analyze associations between RNs’ patient workload and level of involvement in direct patient care, their job satisfaction and intention to leave in these countries.
A workforce survey was conducted through RN4CAST, an EU 7th framework project. The survey included 118 items derived from validated instruments or tested in prior research. Responses from 1133 RNs at 32 Finnish hospitals, 3752 RNs at 35 Norwegian hospitals, and 11 015 RNs at 71 Swedish hospitals comprise the database, which was analyzed using logistic and odds ratio regressions analyses.
We found statistically significant differences in RNs’ level of involvement in direct patient care (p < 0.001, Sweden compared to Norway and Finland), in patient workload and in number of patients needing ADL assistance and surveillance. A U-formed relationship was found between level of involvement in direct patient care and intention to leave in Sweden, and more satisfaction among RNs in roles with more direct patient care (OR = 1.16, 1.02 ≤ CI95% ≤ 1.32). Nearly half the Finnish sample report intention to leave, with significantly lower levels in Norway and Sweden (p < 0.001). Patient workload is associated with job satisfaction and intention to leave to some degree in all countries, i.e. greater patient workload, less job satisfaction and greater intention to leave.
This study suggests that more attention paid to patient mix, workload and role of RNs in patient care might potentially diminish intention to leave and increase job satisfaction in these Nordic countries.
PMCID: PMC4193956  PMID: 25309127
Health services research; Job satisfaction; Nursing; Organization and administration; Workload
2.  Nurses' Practice Environment and Work-Family Conflict in Relation to Burn Out: A Multilevel Modelling Approach 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96991.
To investigate associations between nurse work practice environment measured at department level and individual level work-family conflict on burnout, measured as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment among Swedish RNs.
A multilevel model was fit with the individual RN at the 1st, and the hospital department at the 2nd level using cross-sectional RN survey data from the Swedish part of RN4CAST, an EU 7th framework project. The data analysed here is based on a national sample of 8,620 RNs from 369 departments in 53 hospitals.
Generally, RNs reported high values of personal accomplishment and lower values of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. High work-family conflict increased the risk for emotional exhaustion, but for neither depersonalization nor personal accomplishment. On department level adequate staffing and good leadership and support for nurses reduced the risk for emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Personal accomplishment was statistically significantly related to staff adequacy.
The findings suggest that adequate staffing, good leadership, and support for nurses are crucial for RNs' mental health. Our findings also highlight the importance of hospital managers developing policies and practices to facilitate the successful combination of work with private life for employees.
PMCID: PMC4018443  PMID: 24820972
3.  Staffing and resource adequacy strongly related to RNs’ assessment of patient safety: a national study of RNs working in acute-care hospitals in Sweden 
BMJ Quality & Safety  2013;23(3):242-249.
Although registered nurses (RNs) are central in patient care, we have not found prior research that specifically addresses how RNs assess the safety of patient care at their workplace and how factors in RNs’ work environment are related to their assessments. This study aims to address these issues.
9236 RNs working with inpatient care in 79 acute-care hospitals in Sweden completed a national population-based survey, including Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index—Revised and items from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Correlation coefficients (Pearson and Spearman) and proportional odds regression were used for analysis.
Nursing work environment factors were strongly related to RNs’ assessments of patient safety. RNs’ perception of having adequate staffing and resources improved their assessment of patient safety by at least two and a half times (OR 2.74 CI 2.52 to 2.97). RNs with a higher level of involvement in direct patient care gave a better patient safety grade than RNs with a more supervisory role. Most, but not all, patient safety culture items were related to RNs’ assessed patient safety grade. We found that work experience seemed to have no influence on RNs’ patient safety assessment.
While previous research emphasises patient-to-nurse ratios in strengthening patient safety practices, this study complements this by emphasising RNs’ own perception of having enough staff and resources to provide quality nursing care, as well as having good collegial nurse–physician relations and the presence of visible and competent nursing leadership—all factors highly related to RNs’ assessment of the safety of patient care at their workplace.
PMCID: PMC3932760  PMID: 24125740
Nurses; Patient Safety; Management; Health Services Research; Healthcare Quality Improvement
5.  A National Observational Study of the Prevalence and Use of Enteral Tube Feeding, Parenteral Nutrition and Intravenous Glucose in Cancer Patients Enrolled in Specialized Palliative Care  
Nutrients  2013;5(1):267-282.
The use of artificial nutrition remains controversial for cancer patients in palliative care, and its prevalence is largely unknown. We therefore conducted a national study to investigate the prevalence, indications for, and perceived benefit of enteral/parenteral nutrition and intravenous glucose in this patient group. A cross-sectional study was performed within the palliative care research network in Sweden (PANIS), using a web-based survey with 24 questions on demographics, prescribed nutritional treatment, estimated survival and benefit from treatment. Data was received from 32 palliative care units throughout the country, representing 1083 patients with gastrointestinal and gynecological malignancies being the most common diagnoses. Thirteen percent of the patients received enteral/parenteral nutrition or intravenous glucose. Parenteral nutrition (PN) was significantly more common in home care units serving the urban Stockholm region (11%) than in other parts of the country (4%). Weight and appetite loss were the predominant indications for PN, with this treatment deemed beneficial for 75% of the palliative patients. Data show that there was great variation in PN use within the country. PN was predominately initiated when patients had weight and appetite loss but still had oral intake, indicating a use of PN that extends beyond the traditional use for patients with obstruction/semi obstruction.
PMCID: PMC3571648  PMID: 23340317
enteral tube feeding; intravenous glucose; neoplasm; nutritional support; palliative care; parenteral nutrition
6.  An international measure of awareness and beliefs about cancer: development and testing of the ABC 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e001758.
To develop an internationally validated measure of cancer awareness and beliefs; the awareness and beliefs about cancer (ABC) measure.
Design and setting
Items modified from existing measures were assessed by a working group in six countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK). Validation studies were completed in the UK, and cross-sectional surveys of the general population were carried out in the six participating countries.
Testing in UK English included cognitive interviewing for face validity (N=10), calculation of content validity indexes (six assessors), and assessment of test–retest reliability (N=97). Conceptual and cultural equivalence of modified (Canadian and Australian) and translated (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Canadian French) ABC versions were tested quantitatively for equivalence of meaning (≥4 assessors per country) and in bilingual cognitive interviews (three interviews per translation). Response patterns were assessed in surveys of adults aged 50+ years (N≥2000) in each country.
Main outcomes
Psychometric properties were evaluated through tests of validity and reliability, conceptual and cultural equivalence and systematic item analysis. Test–retest reliability used weighted-κ and intraclass correlations. Construction and validation of aggregate scores was by factor analysis for (1) beliefs about cancer outcomes, (2) beliefs about barriers to symptomatic presentation, and item summation for (3) awareness of cancer symptoms and (4) awareness of cancer risk factors.
The English ABC had acceptable test–retest reliability and content validity. International assessments of equivalence identified a small number of items where wording needed adjustment. Survey response patterns showed that items performed well in terms of difficulty and discrimination across countries except for awareness of cancer outcomes in Australia. Aggregate scores had consistent factor structures across countries.
The ABC is a reliable and valid international measure of cancer awareness and beliefs. The methods used to validate and harmonise the ABC may serve as a methodological guide in international survey research.
PMCID: PMC3547316  PMID: 23253874
early detection of cancer; cancer early diagnosis; validation studies; cross-cultural comparison; reliability and validity
7.  ‘Information on the fly’: Challenges in professional communication in high technological nursing. A focus group study from a radiotherapy department in Sweden 
BMC Nursing  2012;11:10.
Radiotherapy (RT) units are high-tech nursing environments. In Sweden, RT registered nurses (RNs) provide and manage RT in close collaboration with other professional groups, as well as providing nursing care for patients with cancer. Communication demands on these RNs are thus particularly complex. In this study, we aimed to better understand problems, strengths and change needs related to professional communication with and within the RT department, as a basis for developing a situation-specific intervention.
Focus groups discussions (FGDs) were conducted with different professional (RNs, assistant nurses, physicians, engineers and physicists) and user stakeholders. Transcripts of the FGDs were inductively analyzed by a team of researchers, to generate clinically relevant and useful data.
These findings give insight into RT safety climate and are presented under three major headings: Conceptualization of professional domains; Organization and leadership issues; and Communication forms, strategies and processes. The impact of existing hierarchies, including how they are conceptualized and acted out in practice, was noted throughout these data. Despite other differences, participating professionals agreed about communication problems related to RT, i.e. a lack of systems and processes for information transfer, unclear role differentiation, a sense of mutual disrespect, and ad hoc communication taking place ‘on the fly’. While all professional groups recognized extensive communication problems, none acknowledged the potential negative effects on patient safety or care described in the FGD with patient representatives. While RNs often initially denied the existence of a hierarchy, they placed themselves on a hierarchy in their descriptions, describing their own role as passive, with a sense of powerlessness. Potential safety hazards described in the FGDs include not reporting medical errors and silently ignoring or actively opposing new guidelines and regulations.
There is a risk that RNs who view themselves as disenfranchised within an organization will act with passive resistance to change, rather than as change promoters. As interventions to strengthen teams cannot be stronger than the weakest link, RNs may need support in the transition “from silence to voice” in order to take a position of full professional responsibility in a multi-professional health care team.
PMCID: PMC3438026  PMID: 22824412
8.  Complexity in Non-Pharmacological Caregiving Activities at the End of Life: An International Qualitative Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(2):e1001173.
In a qualitative study reported by Olav Lindqvist and colleagues, the range of nonpharmacological caregiving activities used in the last days of a patient's life are described.
In late-stage palliative cancer care, relief of distress and optimized well-being become primary treatment goals. Great strides have been made in improving and researching pharmacological treatments for symptom relief; however, little systematic knowledge exists about the range of non-pharmacological caregiving activities (NPCAs) staff use in the last days of a patient's life.
Methods and Findings
Within a European Commission Seventh Framework Programme project to optimize research and clinical care in the last days of life for patients with cancer, OPCARE9, we used a free-listing technique to identify the variety of NPCAs performed in the last days of life. Palliative care staff at 16 units in nine countries listed in detail NPCAs they performed over several weeks. In total, 914 statements were analyzed in relation to (a) the character of the statement and (b) the recipient of the NPCA. A substantial portion of NPCAs addressed bodily care and contact with patients and family members, with refraining from bodily care also described as a purposeful caregiving activity. Several forms for communication were described; information and advice was at one end of a continuum, and communicating through nonverbal presence and bodily contact at the other. Rituals surrounding death and dying included not only spiritual/religious issues, but also more subtle existential, legal, and professional rituals. An unexpected and hitherto under-researched area of focus was on creating an aesthetic, safe, and pleasing environment, both at home and in institutional care settings.
Based on these data, we argue that palliative care in the last days of life is multifaceted, with physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and existential care interwoven in caregiving activities. Providing for fundamental human needs close to death appears complex and sophisticated; it is necessary to better distinguish nuances in such caregiving to acknowledge, respect, and further develop end-of-life care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
End-of-life care is a major public health issue, yet despite the inevitability of death, issues related to death and dying are often taboo, and, if mentioned, are often referred to as “palliative care.” There are detailed definitions of palliative care, but in essence, the purpose of palliative care is to relieve any suffering in patients who are dying from progressive illness and to provide the best possible quality of life for both the patient and his or her family. In order to achieve this aim, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological management is necessary, with the latter taking a central role. Recently, a European Commission Seventh Framework Programme project, OPCARE9, aimed to improve the care of dying patients in Europe and beyond by optimizing research and clinical care for patients with cancer in the last days of their life, especially regarding well-being and comfort as death becomes imminent.
Why Was This Study Done?
There is now a growing literature base in non-pharmacological management at the end of an individual's life, particularly in relation to psychological, ethical, and communication issues as well as family-focused and culturally appropriate care. Despite this progress, there is currently little systematic knowledge in how health workers use such non-pharmacological approaches in their efforts to maximize well-being and comfort in patients experiencing their very last days of life. Therefore, in order to advance knowledge in this important clinical area, in this study the researchers reviewed and identified the variety of non-pharmacological caregiving activities performed by different professionals in the last days and hours of life for patients with cancer (and their families) in palliative care settings in the countries that participated in OPCARE9.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers modified an anthropological approach to collect relevant information in participating European countries—Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK—and Argentina and New Zealand. Staff in palliative care settings generated a list of non-pharmacological caregiving activities after discussion about which interventions and activities they carried out with patients and families during the last days of life. This preliminary list of statements was added to if staff performed a new activity when in contact with patients or the patients' family during the last days of life. The researchers then used computer-assisted qualitative data analysis to code the statements.
Using this methodology, the researchers analyzed 914 statements of caregiving activities from 16 different facilities in nine countries. The greatest number of activities described some type of caregiving for an individual carried out through contact with his or her body, such as attending to diverse bodily needs (such as cleaning and moisturizing) while maintaining comfort and dignity. Listening, talking with, and understanding (particularly between professionals and the family) was the next most frequent activity, followed by creating an esthetical, safe, and pleasing environment for the dying person and his or her family, and necessary “backstage” activities, such as organizing paperwork or care plans. Other common activities included observing and assessing, which were often described as being carried out simultaneously with other interventions; just being present (described as increasingly important close to death); performing rituals surrounding death and dying (usually directed to families); guiding and facilitating (encompassing support in a compassionate manner); and finally, giving oral and written information and advice (usually to families).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that providing for fundamental human needs close to death is complex and sophisticated but ultimately integrated into a common theme of caregiving. This study also identifies a number of areas needing further investigation, such as enhancing the sensory and general environment for the patient and family. Finally, this study suggests that developing a greater level of detail, such as improved terminology for end-of-life care, would enhance appreciation of the nuances and complexity present in non-pharmacological care provision during the last days of life, with potential benefit for clinical practice, teaching, and research.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The OPCARE9 website details more information about this end-of-life care initiative
The World Health Organization website defines palliative care, and Wikipedia gives more information (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
NHS Choices also provides information about end-of-life care
PMCID: PMC3279347  PMID: 22347815
9.  Community patterns of stigma towards persons living with HIV: A population-based latent class analysis from rural Vietnam 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:705.
The negative effects of stigma on persons living with HIV (PLHIV) have been documented in many settings and it is thought that stigma against PLHIV leads to more difficulties for those who need to access HIV testing, treatment and care, as well as to limited community uptake of HIV prevention and testing messages. In order to understand and prevent stigma towards PLHIV, it is important to be able to measure stigma within communities and to understand which factors are associated with higher stigma.
To analyze patterns of community stigma and determinants to stigma toward PLHIV, we performed an exploratory population-based survey with 1874 randomly sampled adults within a demographic surveillance site (DSS) in rural Vietnam. Participants were interviewed regarding knowledge of HIV and attitudes towards persons living with HIV. Data were linked to socioeconomic and migration data from the DSS and latent class analysis and multinomial logistic regression were conducted to examine stigma group sub-types and factors associated with stigma group membership.
We found unexpectedly high and complex patterns of stigma against PLHIV in this rural setting. Women had the greatest odds of belong to the highest stigma group (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.42-2.37), while those with more education had lower odds of highest stigma group membership (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.32-0.62 for secondary education; OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.10-0.35 for tertiary education). Long-term migration out of the district (OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.4-0.91), feeling at-risk for HIV (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.27-0.66), having heard of HIV from more sources (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.3-0.66), and knowing someone with HIV (OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.58-0.99) were all associated with lower odds of highest stigma group membership. Nearly 20% of the population was highly unsure of their attitudes towards PLHIV and persons in this group had significantly lower odds of feeling at-risk for HIV (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.33-0.90) or of knowing someone with HIV (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.22-0.46).
Stigma towards PLHIV is high generally, and very high in some sub-groups, in this community setting. Future stigma prevention efforts could be enhanced by analyzing community stigma sub-groups and tailoring intervention messages to community patterns of stigma.
PMCID: PMC3184634  PMID: 21923941
Vietnam; HIV; stigma; Filabavi; latent class analysis
10.  Expanding HIV Testing Efforts in Concentrated Epidemic Settings: A Population-Based Survey from Rural Vietnam 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16017.
To improve HIV prevention and care programs, it is important to understand the uptake of HIV testing and to identify population segments in need of increased HIV testing. This is particularly crucial in countries with concentrated HIV epidemics, where HIV prevalence continues to rise in the general population. This study analyzes determinants of HIV testing in a rural Vietnamese population in order to identify potential access barriers and areas for promoting HIV testing services.
A population-based cross-sectional survey of 1874 randomly sampled adults was linked to pregnancy, migration and economic cohort data from a demographic surveillance site (DSS). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine which factors were associated with having tested for HIV.
The age-adjusted prevalence of ever-testing for HIV was 7.6%; however 79% of those who reported feeling at-risk of contracting HIV had never tested. In multivariate analysis, younger age (aOR 1.85, 95% CI 1.14–3.01), higher economic status (aOR 3.4, 95% CI 2.21–5.22), and semi-urban residence (aOR 2.37, 95% CI 1.53–3.66) were associated with having been tested for HIV. HIV testing rates did not differ between women of reproductive age who had recently been pregnant and those who had not.
We found low testing uptake (6%) among pregnant women despite an existing prevention of mother-to-child HIV testing policy, and lower-than-expected testing among persons who felt that they were at-risk of HIV. Poverty and residence in a more geographically remote location were associated with less HIV testing. In addition to current HIV testing strategies focusing on high-risk groups, we recommend targeting HIV testing in concentrated HIV epidemic settings to focus on a scaled-up provision of antenatal testing. Additional recommendations include removing financial and geographic access barriers to client-initiated testing, and encouraging provider-initiated testing of those who believe that they are at-risk of HIV.
PMCID: PMC3019168  PMID: 21264303
11.  "We noticed that suddenly the country has become full of MRI". Policy makers' views on diffusion and use of health technologies in Iran 
Uncontrolled proliferation of health technologies (HT) is one contributor to the increasing pressure on health systems to adopt new technologies. With limited resources, policy-makers encounter difficulties in fulfilling their responsibility to meet the healthcare needs of the population. The aim of this study is to explore how policy-makers' reason about the diffusion and utilization of health technologies in Iran using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and interferon beta as tracers.
This qualitative exploration complements quantitative data generated in a research project investigating the diffusion and utilization of MRI and interferon beta in Iran. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 informants in different positions and levels of authority in the Ministry of Health (MOH), University of Medical Sciences, Health Insurance Organizations, and Parliament. The data was analysed using the framework approach.
Although policy-makers appeared to be positive to health technology assessment (HTA), the processes of policy-making described by the interviewees did not seem to be based on a full understanding of this (discipline). Several obstacles to applying knowledge about HT and HTA were described. The current official plan for MRI adoption and diffusion in the country was said not to be followed, and no such plan was described for interferon beta. Instead, market forces such as advertising, and physician and consumer demand, appear to have strong influence on HT diffusion and use. Dual practice may have increased the induced demand and also reduced the supervision of the private sector by the MOH.
Management instability and lack of coordination in the MOH were found to be important obstacles to accumulation of knowledge and experience which, in turn, could have led to suboptimal managerial and policy-making processes. Furthermore marketing should be controlled in order to avoid creating unnecessary patient demands and negative influences on physicians' behavior.
PMCID: PMC2907640  PMID: 20370906
12.  Somatically ill persons’ self-nominated quality of life domains: review of the literature and guidelines for future studies 
Quality of Life Research  2010;19(2):253-291.
To review which domains somatically ill persons nominate as constituting their QoL. Specific objective is to examine whether the method of enquiry affect these domains.
We conducted two literature searches in the databases PubMed/Medline, CINAHL and Psychinfo for qualitative studies examining patients’ self-defined QoL domains using (1) SEIQoL and (2) study-specific questions. For each database, two researchers independently assessed the eligibility of the retrieved abstracts and three researchers subsequently classified all QoL domains.
Thirty-six eligible papers were identified: 27 studies using the SEIQoL, and nine presenting data derived from study-specific questions. The influence of the method of enquiry on patients’ self-nominated QoL domains appears limited: most domains were presented in both types of studies, albeit with different frequencies.
This review provides a comprehensive overview of somatically ill persons’ self-nominated QoL domains. However, limitations inherent to reviewing qualitative studies (e.g., the varying level of abstraction of patients’ self-defined QoL domains), limitations of the included studies and limitations inherent to the review process, hinder cross-study comparisons. Therefore, we provide guidelines to address shortcomings of qualitative reports amenable to improvement and to stimulate further improvement of conducting and reporting qualitative research aimed at exploring respondents’ self-nominated QoL domains.
PMCID: PMC2816248  PMID: 20047087
Quality of life; SEIQoL; Review; Individualized measures; Cancer
13.  Mapping patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer: An explorative cross-sectional study of individuals with reported positive "exceptional" experiences 
While the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among cancer patients is common and widespread, levels of commitment to CAM vary. "Committed" CAM use is important to investigate, as it may be associated with elevated risks and benefits, and may affect use of biomedically-oriented health care (BHC). Multiple methodological approaches were used to explore and map patterns of CAM use among individuals postulated to be committed users, voluntarily reporting exceptional experiences associated with CAM use after cancer diagnosis.
The verbatim transcripts of thirty-eight unstructured interviews were analyzed in two steps. First, manifest content analysis was used to elucidate and map participants' use of CAM, based on the National Center for Complementary Medicine (NCCAM)'s classification system. Second, patterns of CAM use were explored statistically using principal component analysis.
The 38 participants reported using a total of 274 specific CAM (median = 4) consisting of 148 different therapeutic modalities. Most reported therapies could be categorized using the NCCAM taxonomy (n = 224). However, a significant number of CAM therapies were not consistent with this categorization (n = 50); consequently, we introduced two additional categories: Spiritual/health literature and Treatment centers. The two factors explaining the largest proportion of variation in CAM usage patterns were a) number of CAM modalities used and b) a category preference for Energy therapies over the categories Alternative Medical Systems and Treatment centers or vice versa.
We found considerable heterogeneity in patterns of CAM use. By analyzing users' own descriptions of CAM in relation to the most commonly used predefined professional taxonomy, this study highlights discrepancies between user and professional conceptualizations of CAM not previously addressed. Beyond variations in users' reports of CAM, our findings indicate some patterns in CAM usage related to number of therapies used and preference for different CAM categories.
PMCID: PMC2538498  PMID: 18691393
14.  Patient safety, satisfaction, and quality of hospital care: cross sectional surveys of nurses and patients in 12 countries in Europe and the United States 
Objective To determine whether hospitals with a good organisation of care (such as improved nurse staffing and work environments) can affect patient care and nurse workforce stability in European countries.
Design Cross sectional surveys of patients and nurses.
Setting Nurses were surveyed in general acute care hospitals (488 in 12 European countries; 617 in the United States); patients were surveyed in 210 European hospitals and 430 US hospitals.
Participants 33 659 nurses and 11 318 patients in Europe; 27 509 nurses and more than 120 000 patients in the US.
Main outcome measures Nurse outcomes (hospital staffing, work environments, burnout, dissatisfaction, intention to leave job in the next year, patient safety, quality of care), patient outcomes (satisfaction overall and with nursing care, willingness to recommend hospitals).
Results The percentage of nurses reporting poor or fair quality of patient care varied substantially by country (from 11% (Ireland) to 47% (Greece)), as did rates for nurses who gave their hospital a poor or failing safety grade (4% (Switzerland) to 18% (Poland)). We found high rates of nurse burnout (10% (Netherlands) to 78% (Greece)), job dissatisfaction (11% (Netherlands) to 56% (Greece)), and intention to leave (14% (US) to 49% (Finland, Greece)). Patients’ high ratings of their hospitals also varied considerably (35% (Spain) to 61% (Finland, Ireland)), as did rates of patients willing to recommend their hospital (53% (Greece) to 78% (Switzerland)). Improved work environments and reduced ratios of patients to nurses were associated with increased care quality and patient satisfaction. In European hospitals, after adjusting for hospital and nurse characteristics, nurses with better work environments were half as likely to report poor or fair care quality (adjusted odds ratio 0.56, 95% confidence interval 0.51 to 0.61) and give their hospitals poor or failing grades on patient safety (0.50, 0.44 to 0.56). Each additional patient per nurse increased the odds of nurses reporting poor or fair quality care (1.11, 1.07 to 1.15) and poor or failing safety grades (1.10, 1.05 to 1.16). Patients in hospitals with better work environments were more likely to rate their hospital highly (1.16, 1.03 to 1.32) and recommend their hospitals (1.20, 1.05 to 1.37), whereas those with higher ratios of patients to nurses were less likely to rate them highly (0.94, 0.91 to 0.97) or recommend them (0.95, 0.91 to 0.98). Results were similar in the US. Nurses and patients agreed on which hospitals provided good care and could be recommended.
Conclusions Deficits in hospital care quality were common in all countries. Improvement of hospital work environments might be a relatively low cost strategy to improve safety and quality in hospital care and to increase patient satisfaction.
PMCID: PMC3308724  PMID: 22434089
15.  Nurses’ Shift Length and Overtime Working in 12 European Countries 
Medical Care  2014;52(11):975-981.
Despite concerns as to whether nurses can perform reliably and effectively when working longer shifts, a pattern of two 12- to 13-hour shifts per day is becoming common in many hospitals to reduce shift to shift handovers, staffing overlap, and hence costs.
To describe shift patterns of European nurses and investigate whether shift length and working beyond contracted hours (overtime) is associated with nurse-reported care quality, safety, and care left undone.
Cross-sectional survey of 31,627 registered nurses in general medical/surgical units within 488 hospitals across 12 European countries.
A total of 50% of nurses worked shifts of ≤8 hours, but 15% worked ≥12 hours. Typical shift length varied between countries and within some countries. Nurses working for ≥12 hours were more likely to report poor or failing patient safety [odds ratio (OR)=1.41; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.13–1.76], poor/fair quality of care (OR=1.30; 95% CI, 1.10–1.53), and more care activities left undone (RR=1.13; 95% CI, 1.09–1.16). Working overtime was also associated with reports of poor or failing patient safety (OR=1.67; 95% CI, 1.51–1.86), poor/fair quality of care (OR=1.32; 95% CI, 1.23–1.42), and more care left undone (RR=1.29; 95% CI, 1.27–1.31).
European registered nurses working shifts of ≥12 hours and those working overtime report lower quality and safety and more care left undone. Policies to adopt a 12-hour nursing shift pattern should proceed with caution. Use of overtime working to mitigate staffing shortages or increase flexibility may also incur additional risk to quality.
PMCID: PMC4196798  PMID: 25226543
shift work; quality; safety; nurses; workforce; efficiency; Europe
16.  Self-reported taste and smell alterations in patients under investigation for lung cancer 
Acta Oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden)  2014;53(10):1405-1412.
This study of patients under investigation for lung cancer (LC) aims to: 1) examine the prevalence of self-reported taste and smell alterations (TSAs) and their relationships with demographic and clinical characteristics; and 2) explore nutritional importance of TSAs by examining their associations with patient-reported weight loss, symptoms interfering with food intake, and changes in food intake.
Patients were recruited consecutively during investigation for LC from one university hospital in Sweden. Patient-reported information on TSAs, demographics, six-month weight history, symptoms interfering with food intake, and changes in food intake was obtained. Relationships between TSAs and other variables were examined using two-tailed significance tests. In addition, putative explanatory factors for weight loss were explored in those patients diagnosed with LC, since a relationship between TSAs and weight loss was found in this group.
The final sample consisted of 215 patients, of which 117 were diagnosed with primary LC within four months of study inclusion and 98 did not receive a cancer diagnosis. The 38% prevalence of TSAs was identical in both groups, and were generally reported as mild and not interfering with food intake. However, a statistically significant relationship between TSAs and weight loss was found among patients with LC, with a median weight change of − 5.5% and a higher frequency of weight loss ≥ 10%. Patients with LC and weight loss ≥ 10%, had higher frequency of reporting TSAs, of decreased food intake and of ≥ 1 symptom interfering with food intake compared with those with less weight loss.
TSAs, although relatively mild, were present in 38% of patients with and without LC. Relationships between TSAs and weight loss were found among patients with LC, but not fully explained by decreased food intake. This highlights the complexity of cancer-related weight loss.
PMCID: PMC4220986  PMID: 24702121

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