Nurse Education, Workload Impact Patient Post-Op Mortality
(HealthDay News) — Nurse staffing and education are associated with in-hospital mortality after common surgical procedures, according to a study published online February 26 in The Lancet.
Linda H. Aiken, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted an observational study to assess whether nurse staffing and education correlate with in-hospital mortality after common surgical procedures. Discharge data were reviewed for 422,730 patients who underwent common surgeries. Patients were aged ≥50 years and from 300 hospitals in nine European countries. A total of 26,516 nurses practicing at the study hospitals were surveyed to assess nurse staffing and education.
The researchers found that the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission increased by 7% with each increase in a nurses' workload by one patient (odds ratio, 1.068; 95% confidence interval, 1.031–1.106) and decreased by 7% for every 10% increase in bachelor's degree nurses (odds ratio, 0.929; 95% confidence interval, 0.886–0.973). Compared with hospitals in which only 30% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses care for an average of eight patients, mortality would be almost 30% lower for patients at hospitals in which 60% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses care for an average of six patients.
"In summary, educational qualifications of nurses and patient-to-nurse staffing ratios seem to have a role in the outcomes of hospital patients in Europe," the authors write.