Aiken and her peers sought to determine the relationship between nurse-patient ratio and the quality of nursing care provided with focus on mortality and rescue success rates on surgical patients. Nurse job dissatisfaction and burnout due to the increased number of patients handled were also explored.
The study involved a survey of 10,184 nurses and 232,342 patients from general, orthopedic, and vascular surgery wards. Recorded data of 168 adult general hospitals were also acquired. Data gathered included determination of nurse-patient ratios, mortality rates, failure to rescue within 30 days of admission and nurse satisfaction. These were then statistically analyzed to determine the relationship that exists between nurse-patient ratios to the other three factors explored.
After adjusting for different factors such as sex, years of nursing experience, academic credential and size of hospitals, the results indicated that there is a congruent relationship between nurse-patient ratio and failure-to-rescue rate within 30 days of admission. For every additional patient the nurse is made responsible to handle, the failure rate increases by 7%. Nurse burnout also increased by 23% per additional patient and job dissatisfaction by 15%.
Several factors have been found to cause the nursing shortage which includes bet...
The study by Aiken and her peers adds further evidence to the notion that the additional number of patients tended to by nurses inhibits them from functioning more effectively. There are several studies further linking nurse-to-patient ratio and negative health outcomes. The significance of all these studies is that it highlights the need to take action immediately to address the nursing shortage for if none is taken or if authorities drag their on this subject, we may expect further decline in medical care quality.
In my experience, every additional patient is a unique case thereby calling for an individualized nursing intervention. Nurses do have limitations and having more patients tended to help reach that limitation point. This is not only about physical capacities but also mental and emotional limitations as many nurses today are exposed to more complex diseases and violent and abusive patients and even doctors. Added to the stress is the constant threats and nagging by relatives to focus attention on their loved ones.
Hospital and other clinical settings provide a tense working environment where the smallest mistake can be fatal. Nurses are human beings too and like everybody else, more work drains the person's ability to function effectively. There is a need to determine solutions to address the problem immediately or we may have a severely compromised medical system. Authorities, both from public and private institutions, should come together to establish a course of action. The evidence is already there and Aiken and her peers' study stresses that we are running not only of time but also of nurses.
Summary: Jeffreys, M. (2005). Clinical Nurse Specialists