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OP-Barometer 2017: German nurses are dissatisfied

Staff shortages and poor organisation put a strain on nursing teams in the operating theatres of German clinics. But there are also positive developments. For example, in the past year, many hospitals have optimised their organisational processes and eliminated hygiene deficiencies.

A lack of personnel and an often inadequate organisational structure is a problem in German operating theatres*. This is a key finding of the „OP-Barometer 2017“, which the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS) produces every two years. Professor Thomas Busse, Director of the Centre for Health Economics and Law (ZGWR) of the UAS, interviewed approximately 1,950 nurses who work in operating theatres and in anaesthesia departments.

About half of the respondents said that in their opinion, risk to their patients had increased in the past two years. This view has hardly improved since 2015 – at that time, 48 per cent of those surveyed thought so. Busse, who conducted the study for the sixth time, sees the following reason for this, “Only about 28 per cent of those surveyed feel that their facility has enough nursing staff to cope with the growing demands. The operating theatre is the engine of a hospital. If it sputters, it poses a threat to the entire facility,” Busse explains.

Patient safety is an important issue

Moreover, confidence in one’s own quality does not seem to be particularly pronounced in some operating theatres. For example, only about 62 per cent of nurses questioned would be willing to undergo surgery themselves in their operating room from a technical point of view. On the other hand, 60 per cent said that hygiene guidelines were strictly observed in their operating theatres, and 76 per cent said patient safety was an important issue in their operating theatres.

Prof.Thomas Busse, Director of the Centre for Health Economics and Law of the Frankfurt UAS.

Some hospitals have improved in this respect. A comparison with the evaluations of the past years shows that they have optimised organisational processes, or have eliminated hygiene deficiencies, for example.

In the field of sterile services, too, there has been a slight improvement compared to previous years. Although approximately 44 per cent of nurses surveyed considered sterile services problematic in 2011, this number dropped to around 34 per cent in 2017.

“Hygiene in hospitals is a sensitive issue, which is why greater emphasis is being placed on it in operating theatres,” says Busse. “However, we can only be satisfied if the hygiene guidelines are strictly adhered to 100 per cent.” The same applies to the topic of patient safety.



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