May 13, 2019

Nurse staffing linked to healthcare-associated infections

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

In this study from the Columbia University School of Nursing, New York City, researchers found that nurse understaffing is associated with increased risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Using data from 2007 to 2012 in a large urban hospital system:


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  • 15% of patient days had one shift understaffed (defined as staffing below 80% of the unit median for a shift)
  • 6.2% had both day and night shifts understaffed
  • patients on units with both shifts understaffed were significantly more likely to develop HAIs 2 days later.

The findings show that when addressing understaffing, hospital administrators need to pay close attention to units with continuous understaffing, the researchers say.

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