JCAHO: "Nursing Shortage Poses Serious Health Care Risk" -- experts offer solutions
August 7, 2002 -- Today the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations issued a huge report on the nursing shortage--focusing on the severity of the current and future nursing shortage and its detrimental effect on patients.
The report cites data that indicates short-staffing was a factor in a quarter of all "sentinel events"--deaths or life-altering events--and identifies other nursing factors indicative of an underfunded profession which also contributed to these events. JCAHO's report states that there are "positive impacts on quality, costs and health outcomes when nurse staffing levels are optimized – fewer complications, fewer adverse events, shorter lengths of stay, lower mortality"
JCAHO did release many documents on its study of the nursing shortage and posted it as "Nursing Shortage Poses Serious Health Care Risk: Joint Commission Expert Panel Offers Solutions to National Health Care Crisis." However this is no longer available. The updated report is "Health Care at the Crossroads: Strategies for Addressing the Evolving Nursing Crisis" (the see the full text in pdf)
On December 2, 2003, JCAHO gave its 2003 Ernest E. Codman Award to Linda Aiken, RN, PhD, FAAN, the Penn scholar who has done groundbreaking research on the harmful effects of the nursing shortage, citing Aiken "for her leadership role in utilizing performance measures to draw attention to important issues in nursing care."
See our FAQ on the nursing shortage: "What is the nursing shortage and why does it exist?"