Under staffing of nurses is a major concern because of the effects it can have on patient safety and quality of care. According to a US Department of Health EPC report, five studies were conducted to examine the relationship between adverse patient outcomes and hospital nurse staffing.
All five studies found at least some association between lower nurse staffing levels and one or more types of adverse patient outcomes. Some of the adverse effects on patients under nursing care included: urinary tract infections, pneumonia, shock, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, longer hospital stays, failure to rescue, and 30-day mortality. However, the studies found a significant correlation between lower nurse staffing levels and higher rates of pneumonia.
This study also found that a 10-percent increase in RN proportion was associated with a 9.5-percent decrease in the odds of pneumonia. While increasing your current nurses’ workload seems as easy way to remedy this situation, most hospitals are already maxing out nurse hours which lead to fatigue and more patient errors. Adding at least one travel nurse to your facility staff could remedy the situation, without accruing additional costs and often times saving money. In fact, travelers cost about the same and even less than a permanent staff member due to no vacation or sick time-off.