Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study shows increasing nursing staff improves safety and quality in hospitals

11.01.2006


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:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>