Aiken, Cimiotti, Sloane, Smith, Flynn, & Neff (2012) conducted a cross-sectional quantitative research study to determine the impact of nurse staffing, nurse education, and work environments on patient mortality. The study consisted of 665 hospitals from four major states and a sample that consisted of 39,038 RNs. The sampling selection was random samples of RNs who identified as working in one of the hospitals involved in the study. Independent variables in this study were identified as nurse staffing, nurse education, and work environments. These three variables were measured utilizing surveys. Nurse staffing was measured by calculating data from the nurse survey by dividing the average number of patients reported by the RNs on the unit by the average number of nurses on the unit. The dependent variable is identified as patient outcomes. Logistic regression models were used as data analysis to measure the effects of nurse staffing on patient mortality and failure-to-rescue. Aiken et al. (2012) findings indicate higher patient-to-nurse ratios increase patient deaths and failure-to-rescue. Aiken et al. (2012) suggest nurse staffing is contingent upon the quality of the nurses’ work environment and reinforcing a healthy work environment and the recruitment of more BSN prepared nurses will decrease the odds of patient mortality.
One study claims that risk adjustment is essential for identifying the association between nurse staffing and patient mortality. He, Almenoff,
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According to L.H. Aiken et al., there is strong evidence that supports a connection between better nurse staffing and better patient outcomes. Scientists argue that a higher amount of nurses on staff allows for a lower rate of overall patient mortality. The reasoning behind this point is the fact that higher nurse rates correlate with “better nurse care environments.” Patient to nurse ratio, highly educated nurses, and increased nurses on staff during a single period of time effects the environment that allows for proper patient care. If there are too many patients assigned to a single nurse it will lead to increased patient complications (medical care/ medication errors, mortality rates, etc.) increased nurse fatigue, and decreased nurse retention/job satisfaction. Scientists argue that these issues must be looked at immediately because there are “numbers of lives that would be saved through improved care environments.” Scientists also argue that the way to improve care environment is by having hospitals become “magnet
Eastabrooks, C. A., Midodzo, W. K., Cummings, G. C., Ricker, K. L., & Giovanetti, P. (2005, March/April). The impact of hospital nursing characteristics on 30-day mortality. Nursing Research, 54(2), 72-84. http://dx.doi
Current nurse-to-patient ratios is a topic that has constant focus on today’s patient outcomes and safety. There have be many studies and there continues to be studies done on how a higher nurse to patient ratio effects not only patient and nurse safety and patient outcomes once they leave the hospital, but also patient mortality rates as well. When a nurse has been assigned more of a patient load than they can safely handle, whether it be because of a large patient volume or patient acuity, patients suffer and the quality of care declines. With the higher ratio,
For over a decade researchers have been performing studies examining the effects patient-to-nurse ratios have on adverse outcomes, mortality rates, and failure-to-rescue rates of patients and on job dissatisfaction and burnout experiences of nurses. Aiken, Sloane, Sochalski, and Silber (2002) performed a study which showed that each additional patient per nurse increased patient mortality within 30 days of admission by 7% and increased failure-to-rescue by 7% as well. This same study also showed that each additional patient per nurse resulted in a 23% increase in nurse burnout and a 15% increase in job dissatisfaction. Additionally, Rafferty et al. (2007) performed a study in which the results showed that patients in hospitals with higher patient-to-nurse ratios had a 26% higher mortality rate and nurses were twice as likely to have job dissatisfaction and experience burnout. Blegen, Goode, Spetz, Vaughn, and Park (2011) performed a study where results showed that more staffing hours for nurses resulted in lower rates of congestive heart failure morality, infection, and prolonged hospital stays. The same study also showed that increased nursing care from registered nurses resulted in lower infection and failure to rescue rates and fewer cases of sepsis.
One can wonder if there is any correlation between patient-nurse ratio and it’s effect on patient safety. In the research conducted by Jack Needleman and his associates (2002), they examined the relationship between amount of care provided by the nurse and compared it to patient outcome. The result showed that the increase amount of time a nurse is able to spend with the patient better the quality of care is. The data for this research was collected from seven hundred and ninety-nine hospitals across eleven states. This covered both medical and surgical patients that were discharged and the data was evaluated the relationship between the time provide to the patients by the nurses and patients’ outcome. As research showed,
Primarily, it is crucial for health care organizations to focus on ensuring safe and quality patient care, as well as improved job satisfaction by enforcing an optimal and adequate nurse-to-patient ratio and creating innovative and long-term strategies through a collaborative effort. In order to ensure the safety of patients and nurses, state-mandated safe-staffing ratios are necessary. Adequate nurse staffing is key to patient care and nurse retention, while inadequate staffing puts patients at risk and drives nurses from their profession. As baby boomers age and the demand for health care services grows, staffing problems will only intensify. Consequently, safe-staffing ratios have become such an ever-pressing concern. In 2004, California became the first state to implement minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, designed to improve patient care and nurse retention. Subsequent studies show that California’s program measurably improved patient care and nurse retention.
In an article published by Applied Nursing Research the authors point out that nurse staffing is related to patient outcomes, “lower levels of RN staffing are associated with higher rates of OPSN (Outcomes Potentially Sensitive to Nursing) in both medical and surgical patients treated in hospitals, U.S. Medicare, and other publically available administrative data” (Duffield et al., 2011, p. 245). The writer of this paper researched 5 relevant articles regarding the relationship between nurse to patient ratio, morbidity, and mortality, every article related similar information. “A systematic review of 102 studies concluded that increased RN staffing levels are associated with lower rates of morbidity and mortality” (Ball, Murrells, Rafferty, Morrow, & Griffiths, 2013, p. 2).
In an article published in Health Services Research in August 2008 that examined the effect of nursing practice environments on outcomes of hospitalized cancer patients undergoing surgery, Dr. Christopher Friese and colleagues found that nursing education level was significantly associated with patient outcomes. Nurses prepared at the baccalaureate-level were linked with lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates. The authors conclude that “moving to a nurse workforce in which a higher proportion of staff nurses have at least a baccalaureate-level education would result in substantially fewer adverse outcomes for patients.”
The research studies reviewed all share a common theme that staffing and patient care make a safe care environment. The patient safety conditions all are enhanced by adequate staffing and nurse retention. Nursing turnover leads to reduced staffing and affects the patient’s outcomes and overall satisfaction. The point of agreement is that nurse staffing and the environment has a positive effect on patient safety, outcomes, and satisfaction.
Inconsistent nurse-patient ratios are a concern in hospitals across the nation because they limit nurse’s ability to provide safe patient care. Healthcare professionals such as nurses and physicians agree that current nurse staffing systems are inadequate and unreliable and not only affect patient health outcomes, but also create job dissatisfaction among medical staff (Avalere Health, 2015). A 2002 study led by RN and PhD Linda Aiken suggests that "forty percent of hospitals nurses have burnout levels that exceed the norms for healthcare workers" (Aiken, Clarke, Sloane, Sochalski & Silber, 2002). These data represents the constant struggle of nurses when trying to provide high quality care in a hospital setting.
Nursing is the powerhouse in the delivery of safe, quality patient-centered care in the healthcare industry. To ensure continued safety of the patient and nursing staff, the issue of inadequate staffing must be addressed. Consequently, patient’s mortality rate has been linked to the level of nursing staff utilized in ensuring an utmost outcome (Aiken, 2011). This paper will outline the issue associated with inadequate nurse to patient staffing ratios in the hospital setting; essential factors such as economic, social, ethical and political and legal affecting the issue will be established; current legislature and stakeholders will be ascertained and policy option, evaluation of bill and the results of analysis will be reviewed.
In recent years, the healthcare industry has seen a significant decline in the quality of patient care it provides. This has been the result of reduced staffing levels, overworked nurses, and an extremely high nurse to patient ratio. The importance of nurse staffing in hospital settings is an issue of great controversy. Too much staff results in costs that are too great for the facility to bear, but too little staffing results in patient care that is greatly hindered. Moreover, the shaky economy has led to widespread budget cuts; this, combined with the financial pressures associated with Medicare and private insurance companies have forced facilities to make due with fewer
The broad research problem leading to this study is the belief that nursing shortage in facilities leads to patient safety issues. The review of available literature on this topic shows strong evidence that lower nurse staffing levels in hospitals are associated with worse patient outcomes. Some of these outcomes include very high patient to nurse ratio, fatigue for nurses leading to costly medical mistakes, social environment, nursing staff attrition from the most affected facilities. The study specifically attempts to find a way to understand how nurse
One of the many goals of the nursing profession is to provide high-quality, safe patient care. There are many responsibilities that come with a nursing career and when the nurse to patient ratio increases, there is a possibility that it may hinder the safe care that patients deserve, and this may result in negative patient outcomes and level of satisfaction. Staffing is one of the many issues that healthcare facilities face. In many facilities, there never seems to be enough nurses per shift to provide high quality, thorough patient care which often leads to burnt out staff, and frustrated patients and families. This review discusses the findings of quantitative studies and one systematic review that involves patient outcomes in relation to nurse staffing.