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Specialty Nursing Certifications Linked to Lower HAI Rates

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, February 21, 2012

The challenges to infection control are great. Whether a patient develops a hospital acquired infection depends on a number of variables, not least of all adherence to safety protocols and checklists.

But did you know that new research shows that certain nursing certifications are associated with lower rates of HAI?

The research, presented last month at the American Nurses Association's Nursing Quality Conference, used data from ANA's National Database for Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) to determine the relationships between HAI and nurse workforce characteristics on adult critical care units. More than one-third of the nation's hospitals participate in NDNQI, an ANA program that's administered by the University of Kansas School of Nursing.

Researchers investigated three HAIs: central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI); catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI); and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).

Two of the study's main findings don't seem all that surprising. First, it found that higher levels of RN hours per patient day (staffing ratios) were associated with lower CAUTI and CLABSI rates. It also found that VAP rates were high in units that had higher percentages of agency RNs—that is, temporary, non-hospital employees.

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