Nurse Staffing Ratios

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Neff, Cimiotti, Heusinger, & Aiken (2011) carried out the largest survey of registered nurses ever conducted in a large southeastern state to see what the nurses have to say about providing safe and effective care and how satisfied nurses are with their current nursing position. A survey was sent out to a random sample of 49,385 registered nurses who were working and residing in this southeastern state using a modified Dillman’s methodology. Neff et al. (2011) mailed a cover letter explaining the purpose of the survey. Then a postcard was sent out a week after the first mailing to encourage participation. All the nonrespondents were sent a second mailing, and a voice message was sent to all nurses 2 days after the initial mailing and 2 days…show more content…
Rothberg et al. (2005) did a cost-effectiveness analysis from the institutional perspective, using 2003 US dollars, comparing nurse to patient ratios ranging from 1:4 and 1:8. The approximate cost estimates were obtained from bureau of labor statistics and medical literature. To gain an incremental cost effectiveness of each nurse to patient ratio relative to the next higher nurse to patient ratio, the ratio was divided by the difference in total cost by the difference in 30 day mortality (Rothberg et al., 2005). Patient mortality rates and length of stay for different ratios were based from 2 large hospital level studies. The authors Rothberg et al, (2005) performed sensitivity analysis on independent variables like hourly compensation for nurses, relative risk of mortality, nurse dissatisfaction and decrease length of stay per…show more content…
The findings with 1:8 ratios showed the lowest labor cost but it was associated with high patient mortality rates. For every decline in nurse to patient ratio showed labor cost increased but mortality rates declined (Rothberg et al., 2005). To view the information in dollar amounts, the savings of even one life by lowering nurse to patient ratio from 1:8 to 1:7 would amount to $46,000. To compare, if nurse to patient ratio is decreased from 1:5 to 1:4, it would cost about $142,000 (Rothberg et al., 2005). In terms of saving in labor cost, it was found that if nurse to patient ratio increased from 1:6 to 1:7, this would save the hospital about $92 in labor costs on average per case but keep in mind that the more patients the nurse has the higher probability of a fatal error occurring increases, causing about 1.4 additional lives per 1,000 admission (Rothberg et al., 2005). This study is important because this research is putting a cash value on each patient’s life. Research has shown us that low nurse to patient ratios will definitely save lives but why aren’t we quick to make the change? Is a human life worth any amount of money? If nurses are working in a ideal environment with adequate staffing and resources, another way the hospital can save money is
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