Dr. Karen Lasater is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Nursing's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR). Dr. Lasater practiced as registered nurse for several years prior to completing her PhD and postdoctoral training at CHOPR.
Dr. Lasater's program of research identifies how the institutional environments where nurses deliver health care impacts patient outcomes. Nurses are the frontline providers of health care. As such, nurses are well-positioned to influence patient outcomes. In particular, Dr. Lasater focuses on patient outcomes that represent complex healthcare challenges. Previously, she has studied hospital readmissions among Medicare patients, and found that patients who are cared for in hospitals with more favorable nursing workloads and supportive nurse work environments are less likely to be readmitted.
Currently, she is interested in understanding how hospital nursing might also influence care management and decision-making at the end of life. A study in progress describes what hospital nurses say about various aspects of end of life care quality in their hospitals, and identifies predictors of high-quality end of life care. Dr. Lasater has also received external funding to study whether outcomes for hospitalized patients at the end of life are associated with nurses' assessments of interprofessional teamwork between nurses and physicians.