A new study says the number of patients under a nurse's care can be a matter of life or death for patients. Researchers say patients had a greater chance of dying following surgery in hospitals where the nurses took care of more people.
According to study conducted by the Journal of American Medicine Association, each additional patient a nurse takes on raises the risk of the patient's chances of death by seven percent.
"Nurses are truly the backbone and the eyes for the physician,” says Keith Harmon Nurse Manager at Rockford Memorial Hospital.
There's no denying the crucial role nurses play at our hospitals. But when they're stretched too thin patients and nurses can suffer.
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Sources: www.nurseweek.com (NurseWeek web site), www.nursesource.org (Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow); Associated Press
“If we don't have enough nurses to provide adequate care we've closed down beds in the ICU," comments Harmon.
The adult Intensive Care Unit at Rockford Memorial staffs one nurse for every two patients or one on one in serious situations.
"The more nurses the better the outcomes,” adds Harmon.
Many say the study holds some merit, but there have been conflicting reports.
"The study does offer quantitative information which is worthwhile but we need consistencies in these studies because they're have been reports that say it isn't that much different,” comments Sue Driscoll VP of Health and Patient Services.
The study was conducted in Pennsylvania and Driscoll says the issues are much different here in Rockford where there is a good supply of qualified nurses.