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Revelations of Busy NICU Nurses

Previous nursing research has proved that nurse staffing levels and nurse-to-patient rations influence patient outcomes; the less patients there are per nurse, the better quality care. “Missed” nursing care is believed to be a mediator in this relationship, since a single nurse can only do so much during one shift, regardless of the setting.

Studies show that when time runs short, nursing tasks such as ambulation, feedings, patient teaching, discharge planning, emotional support, oral hygiene, bathing, and comfort care are among those most often sacrificed. If the interactions between patients and nurses are rushed and unsatisfactory, many tasks may be performed lass carefully or thoroughly as is customary in the profession.

For the study, a sample of 1850 nurses from seven states returned 402 surveys, for a response rate of 22 percent. The results showed that more than half of the respondents reporting missing at least one of the 35 most common nursing activities during their shifts. Although most nurses reported missing care activities only rarely or occasionally, most who did reported time constraints as the reason.

Tubs-Cooley, the director of the study, has a clear message for administrators: it’s not necessarily about hiring more nurses, but about keeping track of nurse performance and auditing them electronically. If you’re interested in becoming a registered nurse, enroll in CNI’s Associates Degree in Nursing (RN) program today.

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