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Linda Aiken and colleagues' work on the value of nursing

Linda Aiken, Sean ClarkeGroundbreaking study shows that nurse short-staffing increases patient mortality, nursing dissatisfaction and nursing burnout

October 23, 2002 -- In a large research study entitled Hospital nurse staffing and patient mortality, nurse burnout, and job dissatisfaction published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, University of Pennsylvania nursing scholar Linda Aiken, Sean Clarke ant their colleagues found that:

Each additional patient assigned to a nurse resulted in a:

  • 30-day patient mortality increases by 7%,
  • failure-to rescue rates increase by 7%,
  • the odds of nursing job dissatisfaction increase by 15% and
  • the odds of nurse burnout increase by 23%.

When nurses had eight patients instead of four, their patients had a 31% higher chance of dying within 30 days of admission. more...

The Lancet published major paper on staffing

Confirmation of 2002 results, this time in nine European countries

"An increase in a nurses' workload by one patient increased the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7%, and every 10% increase in bachelor's degree nurses was associated with a decrease in this likelihood of death by 7%" more...


Aiken and Clarke place another major study in JAMA, linking bachelor's-prepared nurses with lower patient mortality; much of elite media yawns

September 26, 2003 -- Two days ago, University of Pennsylvania professosr Linda Aiken, Sean Clarke and several colleagues published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association linking rates of surgical patient mortality to whether nurses had bachelor's degrees, leading to a widely-carried AP story by Lindsey Tanner but virtually no other original articles, no in-depth stories, and no coverage at all in most of the leading newspapers. more...


Under-staffing of nurses by hospitals leads to an increase in patient mortality

January 2003 -- Nurse researchers describe how patients deteriorate unnoticed and die when hospitals under-staff nurses. This AJN article shows why the "failure to rescue" rate increases by 7% for each additional patient assigned to a nurse and why this is the best indicator of a hospital's quality. Clarke, Sean and Linda Aiken. (Jan. 2003). Failure to Rescue: Needless deaths are prime examples of the need for more nurses at the bedside. ($) American Journal of Nursing, 103 (1) 42-47. more...


"More nurses, less death"

Pembroke nursesApril 20, 2010 -- Today the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a very good article by Stacey Burling about a new University of Pennsylvania study finding that the lives of hundreds of surgical patients could be saved if hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey followed the minimum nurse staffing ratios that have been required in California since 2004. The study also found that nurses in California, where staffing was better, liked their jobs more and felt less burned out. The study was led by prominent Penn nursing scholar Linda Aiken, who has published other ground-breaking studies over the years linking improved nurse staffing to lower patient mortality and reduced nurse burnout. The article provides context about the larger implications of the study on quality of care, nurse staffing legislation pending in various states, the ongoing nursing shortage, and even the then-current strike by nurses and others at Philadelphia's Temple University Hospital, a dispute in which nurse-to-patient ratios were a major issue. The piece includes helpful quotes from Professor Aiken and the nurses' union president Patricia Eakin, as well as ratio opponents, the Temple hospital's interim CEO Sandy Gomberg (a nurse!) and New Jersey Hospital Association representative Aline Holmes. Aiken describes the other research showing that better nurse staffing improves patient outcomes, and Eakin explains specifically how under-staffing prevents nurses from giving good care. We thank Ms. Burling and the Inquirer for this helpful report on topics that are vital to nursing practice. more...


Boston Globe: "Study links long hours, nurse errors"

July 7, 2004 -- Today the Boston Globe published a generally good story by Liz Kowalczyk about a new nursing fatigue study by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing researchers. The study, which was published in Health Affairs, indicated that nurses working shifts of 12.5 hours or more were three times more likely to make mistakes than nurses on shifts of less than 8.5 hours. The study's lead author was sleep and fatigue expert Ann Rogers, R.N., Ph.D, FAAN. more...


Penn study examines link between nurse burnout, care

July 30, 2012 -- Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer Don Sapatkin covered Linda Aiken's work today.
He writes: "For years, as hospitals cut costs to survive ever-increasing financial pressures, nurses argued that inadequate staffing harms patients." more...



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