This study focuses on the issue of nursing staffing and its effects on the outcomes of the patients. To begin with, the tem nursing staffing will be defined and followed by a discussion of nursing staffing in relation to the nurses themselves. Nursing staffing levels and their effects on the patient outcomes will also be discussed with regards to morbidity and mortality besides other indicators of patient outcomes, the impact of nursing staffing levels to quality of care as well as an overview of past studies as far as the relationship between nursing staffing levels and the outcome of the patient is concerned.
Nursing staffing The term nursing staffing refers to the levels of nurses that are employed at a particular institution.
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The quality of care that is given in nursing homes, which is also an antecedent of the patient outcome has been investigated in studies such as the study done by Castle and Engberg min 2003. Some of the studies that have been used to investigate the relationship between patient mortality as an outcome of nursing staffing levels have been cross sectional and critics have argued that these have failed to include a direct link between staffing and individual patient experiences besides lacking sufficient statistical controls (Needleman et al 2011).
One of the patients’ outcomes that have been associated with low levels of nursing staffing is the mortality of patients (Aiken et al 2002). This study was carried out in Pennsylvania hospitals whereby the patients to nurses’ ratio were in the range of 4:1 to 8:1. In the course of the study, 4535 out of 232 342 surgical patients died within thirty days (Aiken et al 2002). This study concluded that four patients less for every nurse would reduce in fewer deaths in the same time and not just in the surgical wards but among all the patients hospitalized in California (Aiken et al 2002). A study by Liang et al in 2012 confirmed the relationship between nursing staffing levels and patient mortality. Cho et al also investigated the relationship between nurse staffing and negative effects such as morbidity, mortality and medical costs. Nurse staffing levels were considered as