The Effect of Low Nurse Staffing on Patient Outcomes

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Authors
Rauser, Amber
Advisor
Lewis, Melissa
Editor
Date of Issue
2024
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Title
The Effect of Low Nurse Staffing on Patient Outcomes
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Presentation
Description
Abstract only.
Abstract
In recent years, the topic of adequate nurse staffing has been widely discussed. The American Healthcare Association (AHCA) reported in 2023, that an estimated 100,000 registered nurses (RNs) left their profession as a result of stress/burnout experienced during the pandemic. Furthermore, the report projected a shortage of 200,000 to 450,000 RNs by 2025. The nurses who stay are facing an increased number of patients to care for during a shift. An increased number of patients has multiple negative adverse effects, which include increasing the risk of hospital acquired infections such as pneumonia and sepsis, and in some cases, death. Researchers have concluded the prevalence of a small patient load being incremental in positive patient outcomes, yet hospitals nationwide continue to set the nurse-patient ratios high. In a study of 232,342 surgical patients, from a group of Pennsylvania hospitals, 4,535 died one month after their discharge. The results revealed out of the total number discharged, the difference was estimated to 1,000 deaths when comparing patient-nurse ratios of either 4:1 or 8:1. The need to increase nurse-to-patient ratios is imperative for positive patient outcomes and to reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infections, failure to rescue rates, falls, pressure injuries and death. Appropriate nurse staffing is necessary to maintain safety and quality outcomes. The purpose of this EBP review is to compare low nurse staffing to adequate nurse staffing and the effects of each on patient outcomes.
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Degree Awarded
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Department
Nursing