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Giving Time to Nurses Provides More Hope for Patients
July 13, 2015
According to a recent study and article, researchers from the UCLA School of Public Health, Vanderbilt University, and the Mayo Clinic found a correlation between patient’s mortality risk and the number of below-target nursing shifts. In these studies, it was found that during busier nursing shifts, mortality risk likewise increases. Specifically, with each understaffed shift, meaning that there were at least 8 hours below the target level, mortality risk of patients’ increased by 2 percent. The hospital used for these studies met its targets “over 85% of the time”, causing researchers to be confident that it provided adequate statistical controls for the study. Study author Peter Buerhaus of Vanderbilt University stated that the study “sets a new standard for rigor” and “reinforce the importance of hospital management…including nurse staffing, to be sure that each patient’s welfare is assured during their entire hospital stay”. Furthermore, the study prompts hospitals to focus on the “most effective ways to deliver nursing care”.
The link from understaffed nursing to patient mortality rates puts the nurse’s role in the spotlight. In 2004, California passed a law mandating that a minimum number of nurses be available for a set number of patients. This law was put into effect because nurse satisfaction with the work environment “is thought to be linked to intention to stay” working at the hospital. A study published in 2013 carefully accounted for the changes in nursing habits and productivity after the law was passed. From 1997 to 2008, the overall satisfaction with work environment increased from 3.59 to 3.73 on a scale of 1-5. Although this study professes that the time span may have caused some variation, the general consensus was that having a full nursing staff “on deck” allowed nurses to feel more satisfied with their working environment.
Whether understaffing is prevented legally, or by improving the efficiency of the facility, nursing remains a pivotal point in the care of the patient. In an environment where an understaffed nursing sector may contribute to loss of life or patient discomfort, the presence of nurses must be accounted for.
RistCall allows patients and nurses to more freely communicate. This communication gives the power to nurses to decide how to best distribute their care based on location and patient urgency. RistCall helps nurses see the most efficient ways to provide care during their shifts. These improvements to everyday patient care gives nurses the confidence and ability to know how to ensure that patients are being looked after. RistCall’s cooperative data-monitoring further provides this information to hospital overseers to ensure that staffing needs are being met on a virtually-constant basis.
RistCall’s dashboard has features which include a monitor which provides the administration data about the different types of patient calls which were generated across shifts. Over time, this information can be used by the administration for planning workdays and workflows. Another informative feature on the dashboard is in the classification of time which nurses spent at the patient’s bedside. This allows caregivers and hospital administrators to decide how best to plan for patient calls and to plan shifts more effectively.
Anderson, Sarah. ‘Risk of hospital patient mortality increases with nurse staffing shortfalls, study finds’. UCLA Newsroom. March 16, 2011. ‘http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/patient-mortality-increases-with-193504’
Mitchell, Lolla. ‘Overcoming Understaffing in Nursing’. Advance Healthcare Network. August 6, 2014. ‘http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Overcoming-Understaffing-in-Nursing.aspx’