Six studies funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
and others indicate that hospitals with lower nurse staffing levels or fewer
registered nurses compared with licensed practical nurses or nurses' aides
tended to have higher rates of poor patient outcomes than did hospitals with
more robust nurse staffing.
Three of the studies found that pneumonia rates are particularly sensitive
to nurse staffing levels, defined as the ratio of nurses to patients or nursing
hours per patient per day. The largest of the studies found significant associations
between lower levels of nurse staffing and higher rates of pneumonia, upper
gastrointestinal tract bleeding, cardiac arrest, urinary tract infections,
and death from conditions that might have been reversed if they had been treated
Hampton T. The Necessity of Nurses. JAMA. 2004;291(24):2933. doi:10.1001/jama.291.24.2933-b
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