March 15, 2024

Study links nurses’ intention to quit, patient mortality

Editor's Note

A study published March 8 in the journal Health Policy finds that nurses’ intention to leave the profession has a significant association with patient mortality.  

Researchers looked at data from approximately 37,000 patients aged 50 and older admitted to 15 public hospitals in Italy in 2015 for at least two days. They then analyzed data from a nurse workforce study of more than 1,000 nurses within those hospitals.

In the survey, nurses responded to questions about issues such as staffing, workload, job satisfaction, intention to leave the profession, quality of care, and burnout. Researchers compared the survey findings with patient outcomes, and discovered that a 10% increase in nurses’ “intention to leave” increased the likelihood of patient mortality by 14%. In addition, adding one additional patient to a nurse’s workload increased patient mortality by 3.4%, mirroring findings in other studies.

Although this is reportedly the first study to show a definitive link between nurses’ intention to quit their jobs and patient outcomes, the researchers say the findings are not surprising, and that results reinforce the need to invest in resources to better support nurses (including adequate staffing). 


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