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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Nurse-staffing levels and the quality of care in hospitals.

Needleman J, Buerhaus P, Mattke S, et al. The New England journal of medicine. 2002;346:1715-22.

The relationship between nursing care factors and patient outcomes is explored in this sentinel study. Investigators examined administrative data encompassing more than 6 million medical and surgical hospital discharges to describe the amount of nursing care provided and its impact on six designated complications. Findings suggested better care in association with both a greater number and higher proportion of care hours delivered by registered nurses (RNs). The authors conclude by advocating for continued measurement of the relationship between nursing issues and adverse outcomes as well as hospital leadership and regulation to promote appropriate nursing care for improved patient outcomes.