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Experienced Nurses Are Less Expensive Than You Think

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, January 7, 2014

The result of that digging is research data that's the first to link clinical nursing experience with pediatric patient outcomes. Hickey's study, published in the December 2013 issue of Journal of Nursing Administration, shows that it's not just the number of nurses that's important: Their experience and education matters a lot, too.

The study aimed to determine which pediatric critical care nursing and organizational factors impact in-hospital mortality for cardiac surgery patients across the United States.

Nurse leaders from 38 children's hospitals that contribute data to the Pediatric Health Information System data set completed an organizational assessment for years 2009 and 2010. These data were linked with patient-level data. The study found that:

  • The odds of death increased as the institutional percentage of pediatric critical care unit nurses with two years' clinical experience or less increased.
  • The odds of mortality were highest when the percentage of RNs with two years' clinical experience or less was 20% or greater.
  • The odds of death decreased as the institutional percentage of critical care nurses with 11 years' clinical experience or more increased and for hospitals participating in national quality metric benchmarking.

"Nursing experience and education does matter in pediatrics," Hickey says. But she's careful to point out that she's not disparaging new grads.

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3 comments on "Experienced Nurses Are Less Expensive Than You Think"


Judy Martin DMc MSN BSN RN (1/28/2014 at 9:39 PM)
This is an excellent article and long over due. The less experienced RN tends to focus on the task forgetting to look at the actual patient. It is experience and that "gut feeling" that cues the experience nurse to question what the monitor is saying about a patient they know just doesn't look right.

Katie Pierson (1/12/2014 at 10:46 PM)
I have only read this post and not the actual article, but they are making claims that education has an impact as well when the only findings discussed are at the experience level. Does anyone know if the results in the study are directly linked to education as well??

Jodi Dotson (1/8/2014 at 1:26 PM)
It is about time that experience nurses get the recognition they deserve . I wish that my small town of Port Angeles, Wa would take notice. The local hospital hires new grads over experience. So that leaves the experienced ones to take lower paying jobs at the few nursing homes . I do like working with elderly but short staffed 1 nurse to 22-25 patients. Burnout fast. Great topic. Thanks