How high is the quality at your hospital? Ask your nurses

Nurses are extremely accurate and reliable assessors of quality of care in hospitals where they work, according to a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program. Researchers found that nurses' reports of excellent care quality correspond with higher levels of patient satisfaction, better scores for processes of care and better results for hospital patients when it comes to mortality and failure to rescue. They also note that those hospitals are "known to have good work environments that support professional nursing practice," such as Magnet status or high ratings on the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index. Read the study, published in July in the Research in Nursing & Health journal at hhttp://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2012/07/nurse-reported-quality-of-care.html.

CIOs report staffing shortages

Hospital chief information officers face a serious shortage of staff, according to a survey by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. Eighty-two percent of CIOs at academic medical centers reported shortages, as did 59 percent at community hospitals. "Even with two years of focused attention on implementing electronic health records … it's clear that staffing is a significant concern for IT executives," said Randy McCleese, vice president of information systems and CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Morehead, Ky., noting that meaningful use targets and the switch to ICD-10 remain challenges.

Health care employment soars

Health care employment rose by 44,000 jobs in September, the second highest gain in a decade and above the 24-month average of 25,000, according to Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. Hospitals added the largest number of jobs over the 12-month period (81,600). "Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the health sector has added 1.3 million jobs for a cumulative growth of 10.1 percent, while non-health employment has fallen by 5.8 million jobs for a cumulative decline of 4.7 percent," the report notes.