of Registered Nurses is Dangerous
of registered nurses is dangerous to patients. Mistakes, errors
and complications become more likely when nurses are asked to
take care of too many patients at once.
Understaffing of registered nurses is potentially fatal to patients.
This has been established by the New England Journal of Medicine,
the Journal of the American Medical Association, and other prestigious
Journal of the American Medical Association reports that in a
study of 232,000 surgical patients, the higher the patient-to-nurse
ratio, the more likely there will be a death or serious complication.
Each additional patient above four that a nurse is caring
for produced a 7 percent increase in mortality. If a nurse
is caring for eight patients instead of four, there is a 31
percent increase in mortality.
A study of six million patients published in the New England Journal
of Medicine shows that patients without adequate nursing attention
are more likely to die or suffer serious complications. The fewer
patients per nurse, the better the medical outcomes.
Nurses on typical medical floors in Massachusetts are required
to care for eight, ten or more patients at a time. Most medical
professionals agree that nurses should not take care of more than
four or five patients at once.
Public Wants Safe Patient Care Staffing Limits
than 75 percent of Massachusetts residents support legislation
to regulate RN-to-patient staffing.
In just one week in May 2002, 80,000 Bay State residents signed
petitions supporting safe staffing.
residents also overwhelmingly would back modest cost increases
if needed to implement safe staffing.
the Nursing Shortage
burned out with high patient loads, are leaving the bedside.
in three registered nurses under the age of thirty say they are
planning to leave nursing within a year.
has more licensed RNs than any other industrialized state in the nation, so the
nursing crisis can be corrected once safe staffing limits
48 percent of licensed RNs are currently working at
saw a return of (or an immediate increase of) 3,500 nurses after
nurse-to-patient safe staffing limitswere implemented.
Safe Staffing is Cost Effective
return on investment in nursing will be reflected both in cost savings
and in improvements in the safety and quality of care provided.
Health Care at the Crossroads: Strategies for Addressing
the Evolving Nursing Crisis Joint Commission on the Accredidation
of Health Care Organization (JCAHO)
nursing levels in hospitals will only modestly increase health care
marginal cost increase associated with safer RN staffing is offset by:
reduction in patient complications – which cost the
U.S. $4 billion annually.
A decrease in medical errors.
A decrease in turnover among nurses, which will save money
on training costs and the hiring of temporary nurses.
Because patients will receive better care, experience shorter
hospital visits and face fewer complications as a result of safe
staffing, substantial health care dollars will be