HealthDay News — Employing internationally educated nurses (IENs) does not negatively impact interprofessional collaboration between nurses or between nurses and doctors in US hospital units, according to a study published in Nursing Economic$.

Chenjuan Ma, PhD, from the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing in New York City, and colleagues analyzed 2013 data from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators. The analysis included responses from 24,034 registered nurses (from 168 acute care hospitals) to a survey (2,126 IENs) as well as hospital administrative data. The authors evaluated the association between levels of IENs and collaboration among nurses and between nurses and physicians in US hospital units.

The researchers found that more IENs on a unit did not significantly affect the collaboration among nurses or between nurses and physicians. The presence of IENs significantly influenced unit nursing characteristics, including higher levels of education attainment (more likely to have a baccalaureate degree) and unit tenure (less turnover).

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“While there have been concerns that internationally educated nurses may not perform at the same level as U.S.-trained nurses, including collaborating with colleagues, our study suggests that such concerns may not be necessary,” Ma said in a statement. “Research shows that having more nurses with bachelor degrees improves patient safety, so it is possible that internationally educated nurses are contributing to improved health outcomes.”

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