RN-Patient Staffing Law Benefits Nurses and Patients, Says Study

20 April 2010 (Last Updated April 20th, 2010 18:30)

The registered nurse-to-patient staffing law reduces patient mortality, assures nurses more time to spend with patients and substantially promotes retention of experienced RNs in California, US, a new study has found. The study bolsters the case for US states such as Massachusetts, which

The registered nurse-to-patient staffing law reduces patient mortality, assures nurses more time to spend with patients and substantially promotes retention of experienced RNs in California, US, a new study has found.

The study bolsters the case for US states such as Massachusetts, which is currently considering legislation to increase RN staffing in hospitals and to limit the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time.

Scientific evidence boosts the case for increasing RN staffing in hospitals and limits the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing researchers.

A survey conducted on 22,336 RNs in California and two comparable states, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, found that New Jersey hospitals would have 13.9% fewer patient deaths and Pennsylvania 10.6% fewer deaths if they matched California’s ratios in medical and surgical units.

Californian hospitals are more likely to have enough RNs on staff to provide quality patient care and more time to spend with patients and fewer Californian RNs say their workload caused them to miss changes in patient conditions than New Jersey or Pennsylvania RNs, the study said.

Californian RNs are also more likely to stay in their jobs because of the staffing limits and less likely to report burnout than nurses in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.