September 13, 2021

Value of hospital staffing with nurse practitioners

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study led by nurse researcher Linda H. Aiken, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, finds that having more nurse practitioners (NPs) in hospitals has favorable effects on patients, staff, and efficiency—adding value to labor resources.

Data on 579 hospitals gleaned from nurse, patient, and hospital surveys, surgical patient discharge abstracts, and Medicare reports were analyzed.

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After adjustments, patients in hospitals with three or more NPs per 100 beds had:

  • lower odds of 30-day mortality
  • lower odds of 7-day readmissions
  • shorter average length of stay
  • 5.4% lower average Medicare spending per beneficiary.

Patients and nurses in hospitals with higher NP to bed ratios were significantly more likely to report better quality of care and patient safety. Nurses reported lower burnout, better job satisfaction, and higher intentions of remaining in their jobs.

Though evidence indicates that hospitals with better RN staffing have better patient outcomes, the involvement of more NPs on patient outcomes has been largely unknown, until this study, the authors note.


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