Nurse Staffing in Critical Access Hospitals Structural Factors Linked to Quality Care
ABSTRACT Evidence links the amount of registered nurse care to improved patient outcomes in large hospitals, but little is known about registered nurse staffing in small critical access hospitals, which comprise 30% of all US hospitals. Our study findings show that the unique work environment of critical access hospitals means registered nurses are often overextended, reassigned from inpatient care, and/or interrupted creating potential safety and quality risks. Further research is needed to understand what critical access hospitals consider "safe" levels of nurse staffing and what processes are implemented to mitigate these risks.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to examine the effects of registered nurse (RN) education by determining whether nurse-sensitive patient outcomes were better in hospitals with a higher proportion of RNs with baccalaureate degrees. BACKGROUND: The Future of Nursing report recommends increasing the percentage of RNs with baccalaureate degrees from 50% to 80% by 2020. Research has linked RN education levels to hospital mortality rates but not with other nurse-sensitive outcomes. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study that, with the use of data from 21 University HealthSystem Consortium hospitals, analyzed the association between RN education and patient outcomes (risk-adjusted patient safety and quality of care indicators), controlling for nurse staffing and hospital characteristics. RESULTS: Hospitals with a higher percentage of RNs with baccalaureate or higher degrees had lower congestive heart failure mortality, decubitus ulcers, failure to rescue, and postoperative deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and shorter length of stay. CONCLUSION: The recommendation of the Future of Nursing report to increase RN education levels is supported by these findings.The Journal of nursing administration 01/2013; 43(2). DOI:10.1097/NNA.0b013e31827f2028
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ABSTRACT: Knowledge is limited about quality of care (QOC) in rural hospitals, including the smallest hospitals, critical access hospitals. Staff nurses from 7 critical access hospitals identified items important for QOC across 4 levels of care: patients, microsystems, organizations, and environments. Several items were unique to critical access hospitals. Most QOC items were at the microsystem level, yet few of these items are routinely measured. These findings offer beginning evidence about how to advance QOC evaluations in rural hospitals.Journal of nursing care quality 08/2013; DOI:10.1097/NCQ.0b013e31829fad73
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ABSTRACT: Small rural emergency facilities are an important part of emergency care in many countries. We performed a systematic review of observational studies to determine what is known about the patients these small rural emergency facilities treat, what types of interventions they undertake and how well they perform. Pubmed/Medline and Embase databases were systematically reviewed between 1980 and the present. Studies were included if they described hospital-affiliated emergency care facilities which were open 24-hours every day, and described themselves as rural, non-urban or non-metropolitan. Studies were excluded if facilities saw more than 15 000 patients annually. Study quality was assessed using 12 previously described indicators. Key activity and performance data were reported for individual studies but not numerically combined between studies. The search strategy found 19 studies that included quantitative data on activity and performance. Nine studies were from Canada, six were from Australia and four from the United States. The settings and scales used varied widely. Few studies adhered to methodological recommendations. The most common presentation was for injury or poisoning (30-53%). The number of patients requiring attention within 15 min was small (2.5-2.8%). Nurses treated many patients without physician input. There is only enough evidence in the literature to make the most basic inferences about what small rural emergency departments do. To allow evidence-based improvement, descriptive studies must employ measures and methods validated in the wider emergency medicine literature, and other research techniques should be considered.Australian Journal of Rural Health 10/2013; 21(5):254-261. DOI:10.1111/ajr.12046