Decreasing nurse staffing levels increases the risk of death for hospitalized elderly patients with hip fractures.
A physician-led research study recently presented at the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2010 Annual Meeting found that the risk of death for elderly hospitalized patients with hip fractures increases 22% when nursing staff is reduced by 1 full-time nurse per day.Â Given the cost-cutting measures occurring nationwide — which frequently result in staffing decreases– the study is concrete proof that nurses bring value to the bedside.
What management mayÂ perceive as excess nursing staff “may in fact prevent long-term problems,” said senior author Paul Joseph Dougherty, MD.Â Two of the most common causes of death for hip fracture patients are pulmonary embolism and acute MI — both among the most preventable causes of death.Â The study authors speculate that nursing care may decrease post-op UTIs, pneumonia and sepsis as well.Â
While mostÂ other studies that quantify nurses’ value have been conducted by nurses, this study wasÂ completed by a group of orthpaedic surgeons.
What do you think?Â Â Do the physicians at your workplace fully understand the value of nurses?