Next up in the nursing news is a look at a hot topic I’ve covered here on the show many times in the past. When are the hospitals out there going to make the changes needed to improve nurse to patient staffing ratios? This is an important question when we look at the continued evidence pouring in about the effect of lower nurse-to-patient staffing levels have on good patient outcomes.

Nurse Staffing and Patient Mortality Rates

nurse job - nurse staffingA new study published in the British Medical Journal looked at the effect of nurse and physician staffing levels had on patient mortality rates in hospitals. The goal was to determine where staff cost-cutting measures would have the greatest effect. Well, it certainly isn’t in nursing care based on what they found out. When the nurse staffing ratio is, at least, one nurse per six patients, the mortality rate for the hospital as a whole dropped twenty percent when compared to staffing ratios of 1-to-10 or more!

I’ll let that sink in for you.

That is one out of every five patients still alive because of better nurse staffing levels. So how do hospitals, healthcare corporations, and our lawmakers still drag their heels on getting solid nurse staffing measures in place in every facility. This most recent study backs up every other study out there on the subject. There are no dissenting opinions in the research that I’ve seen.

This recent study in the U.K. looked at data from hundreds of hospitals and interviewed nearly three thousand nurses as part of the study over the course of one year. This is one benefit of a national healthcare system. They can do broad studies like this and examine care across systems easily. Based on this research and the fact that it is being put out there for public consumption, it might not be long that hospitals start using this in their promotional material here in the states where facilities compete for patients. Will the nurses staffing levels be a selling point for getting those patient dollars in the door? We’ll have to see.


Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Post Grid Nurse Author Interview and Episode 382.



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