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The University of Southampton
Health Work

Nurse staffing, care left undone & patient mortality in acute hospitals Seminar

13:00 - 14:00
27 April 2017
University of Southampton Building 4 Room 4005

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Zena Galbraith on 02380 59 8233 or email .

Event details

Failures in the care provided in hospitals may threaten patient safety. Research since the 1980s has established an association between lower registered nurse (RN) staffing levels and higher risk of death in acute hospitals. When RNs have more patients to care for, there is also a greater chance that some nursing care is missed. But does care left undone contribute to increased risk of patient death in hospital? Despite the volume of research undertaken in the past 30 years, we have little empirical evidence about how or why RN staffing impacts on mortality. In this seminar, Jane Ball outlines recent research which has investigated the relationships between RN staffing levels, nursing care that is left undone (also termed ‘missed care’), and patient risk of death in general acute hospitals. Using an observational design with cross-sectional data, the research undertaken has examined RN staffing and mortality concurrently with medical and support worker staffing, before going on to investigate the part played by care left undone as a potential consequence of nurse staffing, other factors associated with care left undone, and care left undone as a predictor of patient mortality. Taking this research together with the studies that have preceded it, the research provides evidence that higher RN staffing levels may be causally linked to a reduction in the risk of fatal harm to patients. To read more please see the full thesis:

Speaker information

Jane Ball, University of Southampton. Jane has been researching nurse staffing and workforce policy since 1990. A major interest is nurse staffing levels and the interface between research evidence and policy development.

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