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Don't Let Nurses Sink Your Bottom Line

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, May 21, 2013

For example, one study found that higher levels of RN hours per patient day (nurse staffing ratios) were associated with lower central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI); catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) rates. It also found that critical care units with higher percentages of RNs holding national specialty certifications had lower CLABSI and CAUTI rates.

Here's the clincher: The reverse is also true. A different study showed that nurse burnout is linked to higher healthcare-associated infection rates (HAIs), and as a result, higher costs.

According to the Press Ganey study [resgistration required], the closer a measure is statistically to the "communication with nurses" measure, the more it will improve after the nursing measure is improved.

Another example: "responsiveness of hospital staff" follows communications with nurses very closely, and will improve more and at a faster clip than other measures, such as "overall rating" which is further behind.

The study calls for investing significant time and resources into improving the "communication with nurses" measure, and recommends several best practices for hospitals: "Consistent and purposeful hourly rounding, bedside shift reporting, use of scripts, post-discharge phone calls, hiring nursing candidates who exhibit strong interpersonal skills, and providing service skills training with periodic reinforcement."

Are you managing your nursing staff in a way that's consistent with preserving reimbursements?


Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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7 comments on "Don't Let Nurses Sink Your Bottom Line"


Nora O'Neill (5/24/2013 at 2:19 PM)
I appreciate the other comments recommending a broader view of influencing factors on a patient's experience within a hospital. I'm very uncomfortable with the title of this article as it is laden with negative connotations. Many, if not most, nurses prefer to have a strong rapport with patients & families. Healthcare is in the midst of an overhaul due to faulty systems. Be global in your view, please.

Lisa S. (5/24/2013 at 9:07 AM)
I agree with Lisa's comments. Organizations must create environments to fully engage patients in ways that contribute to overall quality. We have been lured into believing patient satisfaction scores are indicators of quality care, and go so far as to reimburse based on satisfaction scores. Studies do not positively correlate patient satisfaction scores with quality outcomes. If reimbursement depends on patient satisfaction, the satisfaction rating tools need to more closely align with quality indicators.

corelibrary (5/23/2013 at 12:39 PM)
I am not sure I like the title to this article. "It takes a village to care for one patient" and nurses are not the bottom line for pain alleviation[INVALID]they need a medical order for medication from the MD. The team approach with open communication should be fostered and collaboration and efficiency to care.