In my blogs I have previously written about matters related to nurse patient ratios. A recent study on nurse staffing was reported in Science Daily on March 16, 2011 in an article entitled “Risk of Hospital Patient Mortality Increases With Nurse Staffing Shortfalls, Study Finds”. The original study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine issued March 17, 2011.

The study was noteworthy in that the statistical analysis that was performed addressed criticisms of earlier studies. The study examined 198,000 patient admissions and 177,000 8 hour shifts at one major hospital. Staffing levels were linked to 48 different units on the hospital.

Two findings are noteworthy. First, patient mortality was linked to nurse staffing levels. Specifically, when a shift was deemed understaffed by nurses, falling 8 or more hours below a targeted level, risk of death increased by 2 %. Second, when patient turnover is substantially higher than usual” on a particular unit, risk of death also increases. In the study this translated into a 4 % higher risk of mortality.