More nurses, fewer patient deaths: Study

As per a new research study, it is suggested that proper investment in nursing staff can help in fewer patient deaths. As per the study, a recent state policy in Australia to introduce a minimum ratio of one nurse to four patients for day shifts has successfully improved patient care. As per the study, there was a drop of seven percent in the chance of death and readmission. There was a decrease in the workload of the nurses too. 

The study was conducted across 55 hospitals in Queensland, Australia. Out of the total number of hospitals, 27 hospitals implemented the policy and the rest did not for a comparative study. 

It consisted of more than 400,000 patients and 17,000 nurses. In 2016, the above mentioned hospitals made it compulsory to instate a minimum of one dedicated nurse for every four patients during day shifts and one for every seven patients for night shifts on medical-surgical wards.

The research team did a comparative study between the two groups of hospitals, once in 2016 as a base and then again in 2018 as a follow up (two years after the policy was implemented). Nurses who were in direct contact with the adult patients in medical-surgical wards were included. 

During the research, patient details like demographics, diagnoses, and discharge details for patients, length of hospital stay was noted. These were then analysed with the death records for 30 days following discharge, and to readmissions within seven days of discharge of the respective patients. 

There was remarkable progress in the statistics of the patients. The chances of readmission and/or death reduced by seven percent, and the length of hospital stay fell by three percent. Between 2016 and 2018, the length of stay dropped by five percent in the hospitals that did not implement the policy, and by nine percent in hospitals that did.

Indian condition

A worldwide shortage of nurses has been reported. As reported, “the latest Indian trends suggest a shortage of more than two million nurses that give a nurse: Population ratio of 1.7:1000, which is 43% <recommended 03/1000 population.”

In India, there are approximately 1958 nursing institutes and 98,749 sanctioned seats for annual admissions in basic nursing programmes. However, there is still a lack of nurses in the country. Still, it cannot be denied that there has been advancement in the condition and numbers. Nursing related topics are dealt with by Indian Nursing Council. 

“The Indian Nursing Council is an Autonomous Body under the Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare was constituted by the Central Government under section 3(1) of the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947 of parliament in order to establish a uniform standard of training for nurses, Midwives and health visitors.”

International Nurses Day

May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birth anniversary, is celebrated as International Nurses Day worldwide. Nurses are one of the crucial health line workers in our fight against COVID-19. WHO announced the year 2020-2021 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife to honour the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, an exemplary social reformer and founder of modern nursing. 

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