Essay On Nurse Staffing

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The Critical Relationship between Nurse Staffing and Hospital-Acquired Infections The field of nursing is an ‘in-demand’ profession that strives for excellence in patient care and positive outcomes. A nurse’s care is always patient-focused with the goal of helping patients reach maximum medical improvement. The job of a nurse can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging at times. This can lead to occupational burnout which has been linked to suboptimal medical care (Cimiotti, Aiken, Sloane, and Wu, 2012). The impact of sub par health care, results in a higher number of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and poor patient outcomes. Implementation of infection control practices and HAI prevention programs are two of the most important aspects of nursing care being utilized to improve patient outcomes. The effect of nurse staffing configurations and nurse-to-patient ratios have also been shown to play a significant role in the relationship between nurses and HAIs. Literature Review Cimiotti et al.’s (2012) summary article utilized data from nursing surveys and annual reports on Pennsylvania HAIs to detail the relationship between nurse burnout, case/patient load, and infection rate. As a result, “if the proportion of nurses with high burnout could be reduced by 10% from an average of 30%, some 4,160 infections would be prevented in Pennsylvania hospitals, leading to an estimated cost savings of $41 million” (Cimiotti et al., 2012). It was found that nurse burnout, patient load, and the number of HAIs are all correlating factors in patient infection rate. “Our findings confirm an association between nurse staffing and health care associated infection rates, with fewer infections seen in hospitals in which nurses ... ... middle of paper ... ...elop advanced knowledge of infection control practices and be able to identify key risk factors in preventing HAIs. Conclusion HAI rates, nurse staffing, length of patient stay, and patient outcomes need to be evaluated in a collaborative manner. Nurses play a vital role within the health care system, and the effects of nurse staffing on patient stay, outcomes, and HAIs is a critical element in health care needing immediate attention. A positive increase in nurse-to-patient ratio, even by adding one additional nurse per shift, will decrease HAIs, patient length of stay, and patient mortality. Stronger educational programs within hospitals regarding infection control are also needed. A more informed and educated nursing staff will likely result in a better educated patient. Overall, staffing of nurses proves to be a critical link between patients and HAI rates.

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