Quality Outcomes of Hospital Supplemental Nurse Staffing

Research briefs from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nursing Research Network identify specific ways nurses affect patient care quality and outcomes. Since 2005, the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) program has supported interdisciplinary teams that involved nursing scholars and scholars from other disciplines in research projects—from the conceptual study design to the adoption in practice of new measures of standards of care.

This research brief examines the relationship between the use of supplemental nurses and outcomes of hospitalized adults.

Key Findings

  • The proportion of total Registered Nurse (RN) hours provided by supplemental nurses varied greatly over time, ranging from 0 to 30.4 percent per unit per quarter.

  • Supplemental nurses were used in 61.8 percent of the unit quarters observed.

  • Among the 188 unit quarters in which supplemental nurses were used, on average, 9.8 percent of the RN hours were provided by supplemental nurses in non-ICUs and 6.4 percent were provided in ICUs.

  • Results suggest that hospitals’ use of supplemental nurses had no significant negative impact on patient outcomes.

More from Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative

To support interdisciplinary studies that address critical knowledge gaps regarding causal linkages between nursing and health care quality and to synthesize, translate, and disseminate major findings to key stakeholders.

More from Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative