Nurse staffing levels impact quality of care, study finds

August 06, 2018 - 3:15 am

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- This is probably the case in all businesses, but in medicine I can tell you it is a definite reality. Staffing levels matter.

There is a new study in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine which has found that the number of nurses staffing emergency departments can make a major difference in the amount of time that the patient has to wait for care, as well as the quality of care that they get. 

A year-long study of more than 100,000 patients seen in the emergency department found that when nursing staffs were at the lowest 25% of the expected number there was a 28 minute increase per patient wait time. 

Looking at it another way, when the nursing staff was low as many as nine patients per day walked out the door frustrated and not receiving care. 

Low staffing also had a major part to play in quality of care for these patients.