Critical Impact: How Work Environments Affect Nurses, Patients

Part of AACN Critical Care Webinar Series

Presenter(s): Beth Ulrich, EdD, RN, FAAN, FACHE

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Webinar Summary

The effect of work environments on nurses’ well-being and job satisfaction is a well-documented and continuing challenge among healthcare institutions. Increasingly, evidence shows that the health of work environments also significantly impacts patient outcomes – making it more critical than ever to create and maintain healthy work environments.

Join healthcare executive, educator, and researcher Beth Ulrich for a discussion of what it means to have a healthy work environment, how work environments impact patient outcomes and how to initiate discussions around creating a healthy work environment. The presentation will review "AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Health Work Environments (HWE)," introduce evidence demonstrating the impact of environment on patients, share high-level findings from a recent work environments survey published in Critical Care Nurse and offer tools to help start the HWE conversation on your unit.


  • List the 6 Standards for Creating and Sustaining a Healthy Work Environment (HWE).
  • Discuss evidence that the health of the work environment impacts patient outcomes.
  • Identify an approach to initiate discussion about HWE in their own work environment.


Beth Ulrich, EdD, RN, FAAN, FACHE

Beth Ulrich, EdD, RN, FAAN, FACHE

Beth Ulrich is a nationally recognized thought leader on nursing work environments and new graduate nurse transition into practice. A former healthcare executive, educator and researcher, Dr. Ulrich currently serves as senior partner at Innovative Health Resources, consulting with healthcare organizations to improve practice efficiency and patient satisfaction. She is also editor of Nephrology Nursing Journal. Dr. Ulrich has been a co-investigator on a series of national nursing workforce and work environment studies, with numerous publications and presentations to her credit. She is a past president of the American Nephrology Nurses' Association, a board member of the Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association and an advisory panel member for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. Approval of a continuing education activity does not imply endorsement by AACN or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with the activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012 (60 min contact hour). AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing, California Provider number CEP01036 for 0.6 contact hours (50 min contact hour).

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.