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Safe Staffing Saves Lives: How the Nurse-Patient Ratio Impacts Patient Outcomes

Within recent years hospitals and other nursing facilities worldwide have experienced a shortage of nursing staff. This project focuses on the effects of proper staffing of skilled nursing personnel on patient outcomes such as satisfaction and safety in hospitals that have limits on the nurse to patient ratio. Current research suggests that staffing shortages can have a number of negative effects on both staff and patients. Hospitals are presumed to be a safe healing environment, but unsafe ratios can lead to patient injury and can even result in death. The research will be qualitative for patient satisfaction and quantitative for safety. This project is a proposal of how safe staffing ratios could be implemented at a hospital and what would be entailed in that process. We expect to find that patient satisfaction increases with more staff and safety outcomes would improve. We also infer that proper ratios would decrease the rates of burnout for bedside nurses. These conclusions are important because they ensure a safer and more positive patient experience during their stay in the hospital, and improve trust in the healthcare system. It also may prevent nurses from leaving the bedside, which is a factor contributing to the nursing shortage in hospitals.

Brooke Bergin '24, Megan Hanna '24, Madeline Kleeberg '24, Caitlyn Pellerin '24, 
Allison VanSleet '24, Rachael Walczak '24
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