The effect of structural empowerment of nurses on quality outcomes in hospitals: a scoping review

Nicole S. Goedhart, Catharina J. van Oostveen*, Hester Vermeulen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: To assess and synthesise studies reporting direct associations between the structural empowerment of frontline nurses and quality outcomes, and to identify gaps in the current literature. Background: The empowerment of nurses seems essential for delivering high-quality patient care. Understanding the relationship between empowerment and quality outcomes would enable nurse managers to make informed choices on improving the quality of care. Methods: A scoping review examining the relationship between the structural empowerment of nurses and the quality, effectiveness, safety, efficiency and patient-centredness of care in hospitals. Searching in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Business Source Premier and Embase identified 672 potentially relevant articles. Independent selection, quality assessment, data extraction and analysis were completed. Results: Twelve cross-sectional studies originating from North America were included. These studies showed a variety of quality outcomes and statistics used. All studies reported positive associations between the structural empowerment of nurses, nurse assessed quality of care and patient safety climate, and work and unit effectiveness. Conclusions: Nurses having access to empowering structures positively affects the quality outcomes, i.e. quality, effectiveness, safety, efficiency and patient-centredness of patient care in hospitals. Implications for nursing management: Nurse managers and leaders should ensure empowering work conditions for nurses in order to increase hospitals’ quality of patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-206
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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