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Hospital nurse staffing and staff-patient interactions: an observational study

Hospital nurse staffing and staff-patient interactions: an observational study
Hospital nurse staffing and staff-patient interactions: an observational study
Background: existing evidence indicates that reducing nurse staffing and/or skill mix adversely affects care quality. Nursing shortages may lead managers to dilute nursing team skill mix, substituting assistant personnel for registered nurses (RNs). However, no previous studies have described the relationship between nurse staffing and staff-patient interactions.
Settings: six wards at two English NHS hospitals. Methods: we observed 238 hours of care (n=270 patients). Staff-patient interactions were rated using the Quality of Interactions Schedule. RN, Health Care Assistant (HCA) and patient numbers were used to calculate patient-to-staff ratios. Multilevel regression models explored the association between staffing levels, skill mix and the chance of an interaction being rated as “negative” quality, rate at which patients experienced interactions, and total amount of time patients spent interacting with staff per observed hour.
Results:: 10% of the 3,076 observed interactions were rated as negative. The odds of a negative interaction increased significantly as the number of patients per RN increased (P=0.035, odds ratio of 2.82 for ≥ 8 patients/RN compared to >6 to <8 patients/RN). A similar pattern was observed for HCA staffing but the relationship was not significant (P=0.056). When RN staffing was low, the odds of a negative interaction increased with higher HCA staffing. Rate of interactions per patient hour, but not total amount of interaction time, was related to RN and HCA staffing levels. 
Conclusion: low RN staffing levels are associated with changes in quality and quantity of staffpatient interactions. When RN staffing is low, increases in assistant staff levels are not associated with improved quality of staff-patient interactions. Beneficial effects from adding assistant staff arelikely to be dependent on having sufficient RNs to supervise, limiting the scope for substitution.
2044-5415
Bridges, Jacqueline
57e80ebe-ee5f-4219-9bbc-43215e8363cd
Griffiths, Peter
ac7afec1-7d72-4b83-b016-3a43e245265b
Oliver, Emily
375dc8ff-f220-446d-8a9f-d62ba60ad5b0
Pickering, Ruth
4a828314-7ddf-4f96-abed-3407017d4c90
Bridges, Jacqueline
57e80ebe-ee5f-4219-9bbc-43215e8363cd
Griffiths, Peter
ac7afec1-7d72-4b83-b016-3a43e245265b
Oliver, Emily
375dc8ff-f220-446d-8a9f-d62ba60ad5b0
Pickering, Ruth
4a828314-7ddf-4f96-abed-3407017d4c90

Bridges, Jacqueline, Griffiths, Peter, Oliver, Emily and Pickering, Ruth (2019) Hospital nurse staffing and staff-patient interactions: an observational study. BMJ Quality and Safety. (doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2018-008948).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: existing evidence indicates that reducing nurse staffing and/or skill mix adversely affects care quality. Nursing shortages may lead managers to dilute nursing team skill mix, substituting assistant personnel for registered nurses (RNs). However, no previous studies have described the relationship between nurse staffing and staff-patient interactions.
Settings: six wards at two English NHS hospitals. Methods: we observed 238 hours of care (n=270 patients). Staff-patient interactions were rated using the Quality of Interactions Schedule. RN, Health Care Assistant (HCA) and patient numbers were used to calculate patient-to-staff ratios. Multilevel regression models explored the association between staffing levels, skill mix and the chance of an interaction being rated as “negative” quality, rate at which patients experienced interactions, and total amount of time patients spent interacting with staff per observed hour.
Results:: 10% of the 3,076 observed interactions were rated as negative. The odds of a negative interaction increased significantly as the number of patients per RN increased (P=0.035, odds ratio of 2.82 for ≥ 8 patients/RN compared to >6 to <8 patients/RN). A similar pattern was observed for HCA staffing but the relationship was not significant (P=0.056). When RN staffing was low, the odds of a negative interaction increased with higher HCA staffing. Rate of interactions per patient hour, but not total amount of interaction time, was related to RN and HCA staffing levels. 
Conclusion: low RN staffing levels are associated with changes in quality and quantity of staffpatient interactions. When RN staffing is low, increases in assistant staff levels are not associated with improved quality of staff-patient interactions. Beneficial effects from adding assistant staff arelikely to be dependent on having sufficient RNs to supervise, limiting the scope for substitution.

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Hospital nurse staffing and staff-patient interactions: an observational study - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 21 February 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 27 March 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428726
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428726
ISSN: 2044-5415
PURE UUID: ae786b07-2a85-495b-ad3e-8374b18e4483
ORCID for Jacqueline Bridges: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6776-736X
ORCID for Peter Griffiths: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2439-2857
ORCID for Emily Oliver: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2507-3869

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Date deposited: 07 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 16 Apr 2019 00:32

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