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Nurse Staffing: More RNs lead to better hospital outcomes

In 1999, California became the first state to mandate minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in different types of acute care hospital units.  This study is based on California hospital outcomes data from 2006, two years after the law went into effect.  About 2 million patient discharges were studied, looking at the incidence of urinary tract infections and at hospital length of stay.  Urinary tract infections (UTIs) were found to decrease as the nursing hours per patient day (NHPPD) increased.  Also, urinary tract infections were found to decrease as the proportion of RNs increased (the skill mix).  Similar results were found for length of stay (LOS).  Conclusion: “The results of this study suggest that increases in both total NHPPD and RN proportion of skill mix lead to decreases in both UTIs and LOS.”

Source: Esparza, S.J., and others.  Nurse staffing and skill mix patterns: are there differences in outcomes?  Journal of Healthcare Risk Management;31(3):14-23, Q1 2012.  Click here for publisher’s website: http://www.ashrm.org/ashrm/education/development/journal/index.shtml Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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