(HealthDay News) — Collaborative relationships between nurses and physicians decrease rates of common health care-associated infections in intensive care units, according to a study published in the April issue of Critical Care Nurse.

Christine Boev, RN, PhD, from the St. John Fisher College in Rochester, and Yinglin Xia, PhD, from the University of Rochester – both in New York, analyzed five years of nurses’ perception data from 671 surveys conducted at four intensive care units. The authors sought to understand the relationship between nurse-physician collaboration and the outcomes from ventilator-associated pneumonia and central catheter-associated bloodstream infections.

The researchers found that nurse-physician collaboration was significantly related to both infections. The rate of the bloodstream infections decreased by 2.98 and pneumonia by 1.13 (both P=0.005) for every 0.5 unit increase in collaboration. There was a lower incidence rate of infections in intensive care units with a higher proportion of certified nurses (0.43 lower incidence of bloodstream infections [P=0.02] and 0.17 lower incidence of pneumonia [P=0.01]). Units with more nursing hours per patient-day had a 0.42 decrease in the rate of bloodstream infections (P=0.05).

“Nurse-physician collaboration was significantly related to health care-associated infections,” the authors write.

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