Nurse staffing

Each additional patient added to registered nurses hospital workload increases the risk of death following common surgical procedures by 7%.

The risk of death 30% higher in hospitals where nurses’ mean workloads were 8 patients or more each shift than in hospitals where nurses cared for 4 or fewer patients.

In hospitals with higher proportions of nurses educated at the baccalaureate level or higher there is lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates.

Cross-sectional studies have shown an association between low levels of staffing of registered nurses and increased patient mortality.

In a study of 197,961 admissions and 176,696 nursing shifts and 43 hospital units, below target levels of RN staffing was associated with increased mortality (Needleman J et al).

In the above study the association between increased mortality and high patient turnover was significant.

In the above study the risk of death increased with increasing exposure to shifts in which the registered nurse hours were eight hours or more below target staffing levels while there was high turnover of patients.

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