Patient Satisfaction Ratings Can Be Negatively Impacted by Nurse Staffing Ratio

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Missed nursing care, in addition to a lack of confidence in a health care provider, can negatively affect patient perception of care.
Missed nursing care, in addition to a lack of confidence in a health care provider, can negatively affect patient perception of care.

(HealthDay News) -- Patients' unfavorable views of hospital care are strongly linked to nurse numbers, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in BMJ Open.

Linda H. Aiken, R.N., Ph.D., from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Service Survey of Inpatients (66,348 hospital patients [discharged in 2010] and 2,963 inpatient nurses) to assess patient ratings of their hospital care.

The researchers found that patients' perceptions of care were significantly eroded by lack of confidence in either nurses or doctors, as well as by increases in missed nursing care. The average number of types of missed care was negatively related to six of the eight ratings outcomes, with odds ratios ranging from 0.78 for excellent care ratings to 0.86 for medications completely explained. Missed care was positively associated with higher patient-to-nurse ratios (b = 0.15) and negatively associated with better work environments (b = −0.26).

"Improving RN staffing in National Health Service hospitals holds promise for enhancing patient satisfaction," the authors write.

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