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Better nurse staffing and education reduces patient deaths in European hospitals
Date:2/25/2014

opr/Pages/default.aspx">Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Hospitals should take notice because when budgets are tight, cutting back on nurses is often the first step but one that can have disastrous consequences for patients.

The studys results closely dovetail with research conducted in the U.S. that served as a catalyst for public and private responses to improve nurse staffing and nurses education. Nearly half the states in the U.S. have implemented or are considering hospital nursing staffing legislation and/or regulation, the studys authors report. Additionally the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has recommended a U.S. national nurse workforce that is 80 percent bachelors educated by 2020.

Similar initiatives are much less common in Europe. The recent Francis and Keogh reports in England investigating poor outcomes for hospital patients concluded that inadequate nurse staffing contributed to preventable deaths, reported the authors.

In Europe, the proportion of hospital nurses with bachelors degrees varies significantly across countries. Some hospitals studied had no nurses with bachelors qualifications while all nurses in Norway and Spain are required to be bachelors qualified. The European Parliament, in its continuing efforts to foster occupational mobility across EU member countries, side-stepped the issue of nurse qualifications in October 2013 by approving two very different educational pathways for nurses. One newly recognized pathway leads to bachelors education but the other maintains a vocational training track to prepare nurses after only 10 years of secondary school. The findings of the Lancet paper suggest that continued EU recognition of vocational training for nurses may adversely affect patient outcomes and nurses access to university education in some countries.


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Contact: Linda H. Aiken
laiken@nursing.upenn.edu
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Source:Eurekalert  

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