Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study shows increasing nursing staff improves safety and quality in hospitals


Increasing RN staff saves 6,700 lives and 4 million patient days each year

A study in the January/February 2006 issue of the journal Health Affairs concludes that increasing the number of registered nurses and hours of nursing care per patient would save 6,700 lives and 4 million days of patient care in hospitals each year.

The research by UCLA’s Jack Needleman, Ph.D., and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s Peter Buerhaus, Ph.D., R.N., also finds that for hospitals that use both RNs and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), greater use of RNs appears to pay for itself in fewer patient deaths, reduced lengths of hospital stay, and decreased rates of hospital-linked complications such as urinary arrest and upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

"All hospitals are feeling pressure to improve quality and contain costs. For hospitals where nurse staffing is low, this study makes an unequivocal business case for using more RNs in nurse staffing and a strong case based on value to patients for increasing the hours of nursing care," says author Jack Needleman, an associate professor at the School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

"We’re entering the ninth consecutive year of a national nursing shortage," said co-author Buerhaus, professor and senior associate dean for research at VUSN. "We hope this study stimulates a fresh debate on the contributions of nurses in improving the quality of hospital care."

In 2002, U.S. general hospitals employed 942,000 full time RNs and 120,000 full-time licensed practical nurses. The study simulated the effect of several options that would increase nurse staffing to a "feasible" level for most hospitals. Key findings include:

  • Greater use of RNs translates into fewer patient deaths, reduced hospital stays and decreased rate of hospital-linked complications.
  • Increasing the number of hours of nursing care provided by both RNs and LPNs would result in fewer deaths, avoidable complications and days of care.
  • Expanding both the proportion of RNs and number of hours provided by licensed practical nurses to reach the top quarter of hospitals (a combination of the other two options) saves the most lives and greatest number of patient days.

Needleman and Buerhaus conclude that increasing the proportion of RNs would require hospitals below the 75th benchmark to replace more than 37,000 LPNs with RNs, at a cost of $811 million. However, this option also held the most benefits to hospitals and patients alike.

"From a hospital’s perspective, increasing nurse staffing is costly. Nevertheless, greater use of RNs in preference to LPNs appears to pay for itself," the authors say.

The cost of changing the RN/LPN mix without changing licensed hours is low relative to other options and the authors estimate such a move would save $242 million over the short-term and $1.8 billion over time. Increasing nurses in hospitals with licensed hours below that in the top quarter of hospitals would require 114,456 more RNs and more than 13,000 LPNs at a cost of $7.5 billion, and would end up saving $5.8 billion. Increasing hours and raising the proportion of nurses who are RNs would require 158,000 more RNs, cost $8.5 billion and result in a $5.7 billion savings according to the study.

"These costs are not that high and for the benefits obtained, warrant serious consideration by policy makers, quality assurance agencies, and others concerned with the quality of care," the authors add.

Kathy Rivers | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>