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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

The effect of workload on infection risk in critically ill patients.

Hugonnet S, Chevrolet J-C, Pittet D. Critical care medicine. 2007;35:76-81.

Lower nurse-to-patient ratios on hospital wards have been associated with an increased rate of post-surgical complications and an increased rate of overall complications of inpatient care. This single-center study evaluated the effect of changes in nurse staffing on nosocomial infection rates in the intensive care unit (ICU) and found that a slightly higher number of patients per nurse was associated with a significantly increased infection risk, after controlling for patient risk factors. The authors hypothesize that increased nursing workload may lead to breaches in infection control protocols.