A recent review of six studies links low nurse staffing with poor patient outcomes. Researchers found higher rates of poor patient outcomes in hospitals where nurse staffing levels are low, nurses spend less time with patients, and fewer RNs are on staff compared with LPNs or nursing assistants. Poor patient outcomes included urinary tract infections, pneumonia, shock, and cardiac arrest. Three studies found that pneumonia rates are particularly sensitive to nurse staffing levels.
The purpose of the study, produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is to offer hospital decision makers information that will help them make smart choices regarding nurse staffing levels. The study is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/research/nursestaffing/nursestaff.htm