Nursing

Study: Links between patient safety and staff workload

Nurse Leader Insider, February 18, 2016

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A new study confirms what you already know: that RNs with a reasonable workload can take better care of their patients. The study, published last week in BMJ Open, examined how the number of beds per staff member affected the outcomes of patients in acute care hospitals over a two-year period.

It turns out that when it comes to caseloads, six is the magic number. They found that nurses with caseloads of at least 10 patients had a 20 percent higher risk of patient death than nurses with caseloads of six or fewer. The researchers also noted that replacing registered nurses with healthcare support staff did not improve the mortality rate of patients under their care.

This study follows a litany of new research about the many ways a reduced workload for nurses can help patients, from preventing heart attack deaths to recovering from surgery. There is even some evidence to suggest that bolstering nursing staff can help hospitals save money in the long run, thanks to the quality of care nurses can provide.


For more information about how better staffing can improve patient outcomes, check out the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading Room. Here are a few samples:
 



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