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Hospitals With More Nurses Give Better Care

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For example, if a nurse is there to monitor a patient after surgery, he or she can catch any early warning signs of pneumonia by monitoring the patient's breathing and the sounds in his or her chest.

"The No. 1 reason we need more nurses is that patients who are monitored carefully will likely do [better] than patients who aren't," she tells WebMD.

A nurse's primary responsibilities are to dispense medications and handle any emergencies, Kovner says. But when there are not enough nurses on staff, the ones present don't have the time to do monitoring to prevent complications, she says.

"We are concerned about the status of patients who need care and monitoring and that care not being available," says Sally Raphel, MSN, RN, director of nursing practice and quality initiative at the ANA.

Nurses also work with patient's families and educate them about the illness and treatment, Raphel tells WebMD. "Nurses are valued by patients."

"We can now show that patient outcomes are directly correlated with staffing mix," Raphel says. "We are very pleased with the results."

Kimberly Lisa Fiedelman, a nursing student at Fiorella LaGuardia School of Nursing in Queens, N.Y., tells WebMD that she is concerned that good nursing jobs may not be plentiful when she completes her schooling.

"I'm glad that this and other studies are helping to better define and delineate the value of nurses in hospitals," she says.

Vital Information

 

  • At a recent conference, The American Nurses Association released a study that found patients have better results at hospitals that employ the most registered nurses.
  • Nurses say they add a level of monitoring to care that is not present when hospitals stretch their nursing staff too thinly.
  • The nurses say the study indicates cutting nursing staff doesn't save hospitals money, but could result in making care more expensive if patients go on to suffer further illness that nurses could help prevent.
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