Low nurse staffing levels contribute to high rates of nurse injury, according to research involving 445 nursing homes in Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. Fewer nurse staffing hours correlated to more claims of worker injuries, especially musculoskeletal injuries related to lifting or transferring patients.
After obtaining First Reports of Injury and workers' compensation data from each state for the year 2000, researchers evaluated nurse staffing hours per resident day for RNs, LPNs, and nursing assistants. They found that each additional hour of nursing care decreased the injury rate by 16%. Lead study author Alison M. Trinkoff, RN, SCD, FAAN, says she'd expect similar results in hospital settings. A previous study had found that when RN positions decreased by 9%, work-related illness and injuries increased by 65%.