Study Finds Nurse Staffing Has Improved in N.J.
A New Jersey law requiring hospitals and nursing homes to report the number of patients per nurse has led to better nurse staffing ratios, a Rutgers University study found.
The study is the first to evaluate the effectiveness of the public reporting requirement and found that since the law went into effect in 2008, the number of patients per nurse decreased in 10 of 13 specialty areas of care across New Jersey.
“Nurse staffing, particularly for registered nurses, has been shown to have a direct impact on patient outcomes, such as rates of infection, falls, heart attacks and even death. Insufficient nurse staffing also can affect a patient’s length of stay in the hospital,” said lead researcher Pamela de Cordova, an assistant professor at Rutgers School of Nursing. “By reporting and analyzing the data and ensuring that nurses are included in staffing discussions, patient outcomes can be improved.”