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Workarounds in Hospitals: Impact on Nurses and Patients

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Jonathon Halbesleben, PhD (bio)

September 18 2008

51 minutes


Workarounds are idiosyncratic solutions to perceived blocks in work flow. While they are widely acknowledged by health care professionals, there remains relatively little research on the impact that they have on health care professionals and patients.

This talk summarizes a AHRQ- and NIOSH-funded stream of research examining how workarounds influence patient safety and nurse safety and occupational health. Through both quantitative and qualitative research designs, our research echoes significant concerns about patient safety from the literature, particularly in the medication process.

Moreover, our research extends the literature by finding that workarounds can also lead to high levels of stress and increase risk of occupational injuries for nurses. In addition to sharing our findings, I discuss the implications of our findings for work design and patient safety.


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