Emotional stability of nurses: impact on patient safety


C.-I. Teng: e-mail: chingit@mail.cgu.edu.tw


Title. Emotional stability of nurses: impact on patient safety.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to examine the influence of the emotional stability of nurses on patient safety.

Background.  Individuals with greater emotional stability are less likely to exhibit strong emotional reactions to stressful situations, and tend to be more proactive and successful in problem-solving. Effectively managing patient safety is a priority concern in countries where nurses face high pressure. A heavy work load leads to burnout (a syndrome associated with negative emotions), reduced job satisfaction and increased turnover. While emotional stability influences job performance in various contexts, its influence on patient safety has not been addressed.

Method.  A cross-sectional design was adopted. The sample comprised 263 nurses working in two Taiwanese medical centres. The data were collected in 2007–2008, with a response rate of 92·6%. All participants were nursing college graduates aged below 50 years. Participants provided information on both their emotional stability and patient safety. Staffing adequacy, hospital, and years of nursing experience served as control variables.

Findings.  Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that emotional stability predicted patient safety (β = 0·18, < 0·01). The addition of emotional stability as a predictor of patient safety increased the associated explained variance (ΔR2 = 0·03, P < 0·01).

Conclusion.  It is important for to managers create an organisational climate that promotes the emotional stability of nurses. This could help to improve global patient safety by reducing the frequency of adverse events.