Year in Research Nominee for 2010
In 2004, California became the first state to mandate minimum nurse staffing levels for various nursing units, specifying how many patients each nurse can care for at any one time. As other states look to enact nurse staffing legislation or regulations, California’s example provides some insight.
Nurse researchers, led by Linda Aiken, R.N., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, compared the outcomes for nurses and quality of care in California and two states without legislation—Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They surveyed 22,336 nurses in all three states and examined patient outcomes, including 30-day inpatient mortality and failure to rescue across hospitals according to whether the nurses cared for fewer or more patients each.
When hospital nurse staffing levels are raised, nurse satisfaction and patient outcomes both benefit—and lives are saved.