Dr. Susan Letvak

Dr. Susan Letvak

What has been the impact of your INQRI project? Our project has demonstrated that the health of the nurse (specifically working with musculoskeletal pain and/or depression) impacts not only the nursing workforce, but also quality of care and patient safety. Health related loss of productivity and decreased quality of care and increase in patient errors and falls may be costing hospital systems $2 billion dollars per year. These findings should create concern that changes must be made in the workplace and at the policy level to assure a healthy nursing workforce.

How did interdisciplinary collaboration impact your INQRI study? Interdisciplinary collaboration was essential for both developing the project and successfully completing the study. The nursing member (Letvak) had conducted previous studies on the nursing workforce which led to identifying the need for the research study. The economist (Ruhm) was essential for costing out the effects of presenteeism. The healthcare system is more likely to address nursing workforce problems when not only is patient safety at risk, but has financial costs. A statistician (Gupta) provided expertise in study design and conducting complex analyses.

What impact has the INQRI program itself had on your research? The INQRI program has provided me with the support to conduct a study of large enough scale to have significance and demonstrate the importance of nurse health on quality of care and patient safety. Additionally, the INQRI program has afforded me the opportunity to form an interdisciplinary team that effectively collaborated throughout the study and continues through dissemination. Findings from this study have provided the needed data for us to now plan our next study.