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 Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>