Nurse under staffing is associated with an increased risk for health care associate infections (HAIs) among hospitalized patients, according to a study publish in the May issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration. Jingjing Shang, Ph.D., R.N., from the Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City, and colleagues analyze data from a large urban hospital system (2007 to 2012) to evaluate the association of nurse staffing (two days before HAI onset) with HAIs.

The health care providers

Nurses may be differentiatE from other health care providers by their approach to patient care, training, scope also of practice. Nurses practice in many specialties with differing levels of prescription authority. Many nurses provide care within the ordering scope of physicians, and this traditional role has shape the public image of nurses as care providers.

Nurses develop a plan of care, working collaboratively with physicians, therapists, the patient, the patient’s family and other team members; that focuses on treating illness to improve quality of life. Nurse may help coordinate the patient care perform by other members; so of a multidisciplinary health care team such as therapists, medical practitioners and dietitians. Nurses provide care both interdependently, for example, with physicians, and independently as nursing professionals.

To examine whether healthcare associate infections (HAIs) and nurse staffing are associate using unit-level staffing data. Cross-sectional data between 2007 and 2012 from a large urban hospital system were analyzed. HAIs were diagnose using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network definitions.

Association of nurse staffing

They use Cox proportional-hazards regression model to examine the association of nurse staffing (2 days before HAI onset) with HAIs after adjusting for individual risks. They also evaluate this association when adjusting for individual risks. The study sample include 100,264 patients with 448,826 patient-days from 34 units.

The researchers found that 15% of patient-days had one shift understaffed, define as staffing <80% of the unit median for a shift, and 6.2% had both day and night shifts understaffed. The hazard rate of HAIs in patients on units with nurse understaffing on both shifts two days prior was 15% higher compare with patients staying in units with sufficiently staff day and night shifts.

Being at the forefront of infection control and prevention is a unique responsibility and opportunity for nurses; also our study shows that hospital administrators; so should ensure adequate nurse staffing to provide the safest patient care,” Shang said in a statement. This could be achieve through better nurse recruitment and retention practices; so together with methods of managing burnout and fatigue.