Balancing Staffing and Safety: Explore the Intricate Relationship of Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes (Part 2 of 2)

Explore the Intricate Relationship of Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes (Part 2 of 2)

Several prominent research studies have linked nurse staffing to patient safety, concluding that the nursing shortage has led to adverse patient outcomes and job dissatisfaction among nurses. This article, targeted to nurse management, explores the research and analytic process, the findings of the research studies, the policy implications, and strategies nurse managers might implement to address these issues in their hospital settings. The article explores areas that research has yet to explain, such as what staffing levels are safe for particular situations or for specific clusters of patients with different acuity levels. It discusses legal liability related to the current shortage and implications for public policy, such as the controversial initiative to regulate hospital staffing, as is being done in California. This article guides nurse managers through the methods, findings, implications, and limitations of studies about nurse staffing and patient outcomes. It sets the research within a recognizable frame for nurse managers, whose efforts to provide an optimal professional environment for nurses and improve patient care are constrained by budgets and a lack of availability of qualified nurses.