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Impact of Nurse Staffing on Patient Care

Many recent studies point to the connection between adequate levels of registered nurse staffing and safe patient care.


Shortage of nurses is leading cause of medical errors.

"A survey reported in the December 12th, 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found that 53% of physicians and 65% of the public cited the shortage of nurses as a leading cause of medical errors. Overall, 42% of the public and more then a third of U.S. doctors reported that they or their family members have experienced medical errors in the course of receiving medical care."
www.kff.org/content/2002/20021211a



Having too few nurses may actually cost more money given the high costs of replacing burnt out nurses and caring for patients with poor outcomes.

"Nurse Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania determined that patients who have common surgeries in hospitals with high nurse-to-patient ratios have an up to 31% increased chance of dying. Funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research, the study found that every additional patient in an average hospital nurse's workload increased the risk of death in surgical patients by 7%. Having too few nurses may actually cost more money given the high costs of replacing burnt out nurses and caring for patients with poor outcomes."
www.nursing.upenn.edu/news/detail.asp?t=2&id=23

"A report released in August 2002 by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCHAO), the authors found that a shortage of nurses in America's hospitals is putting patient lives in danger. JCAHO examined 1609 hospital reports of patient deaths and injuries since 1996 and found that low nursing staff levels were a contributing factor in 24% of the cases."
www.jcaho.org


"According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2002, a higher proportion of nursing care provided by RNs and a greater number of hours of care by RNs per day are associated with better outcomes for hospitalized patients. This extensive study was conducted by Drs. Jack Needleman and Peter Buerhaus."
http://content.neim.org/cgi/content/abstract/346/22/1715

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