Low Emergency Nurse Staffing Tied to Adverse Events

Poor outcomes include long wait times, delays to provision of care
Low Emergency Nurse Staffing Tied to Adverse Events
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

THURSDAY, March 14, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Lower levels of nurse staffing in the emergency department are associated with adverse events, according to a review published online Feb. 1 in the International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Jonathan Drennan, Ph.D., from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems at University College Dublin, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the relationship between nurse staffing, skill mix, and quality of care in the emergency department.

Based on 16 included studies, the researchers found that poorer staffing levels in emergency departments are associated with increased patient wait times, a higher proportion of patients who leave without being seen, and an increased length of stay. There was also an association between lower levels of nurse staffing and an increase in time to medications and therapeutic interventions, as well as an increased risk for cardiac arrest in the emergency department.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had lasting impact on the well-being of health care workers and there is an increase in the number of nurses saying they want to leave emergency nursing,” coauthor Peter Griffiths, Ph.D., from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. “This will make it increasingly challenging to staff emergency departments effectively. Our research suggests this could have a range of negative outcomes for patients.”

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