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Minnesota Registered Nurses Promote Law to Improve Patient Care and Address Health Care Costs
Date:2/25/2008

the intensity of individual nurse patient loads. Admissions, discharges and transfers of patients are rarely factored in when scheduling nurses to work specific units.

A remarkable body of evidence substantiates that inadequate staffing is costly.

-- The Institute of Medicine attributes a staggering 17 billion dollars to the cost of medical errors.

-- The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations asserts that inadequate staffing precipitated one quarter of all unexpected occurrences that led to patient deaths, injuries or permanent loss of function.

-- A report by Voluntary Hospitals Association determined that organizations with higher turnover rates (21% or more) had a 36 percent higher cost per discharge rate than hospitals with lower turnover rates of 12 percent or less.

Recent surveys conducted by MNA complement the existing research. A telephone survey of 400 members and 400 Minnesota residents was implemented by Anderson, Niebuhr and Associates from June - September, 2007.

For nurses, the MNA poll found that when nurses are forced to work short staffed, three quarters of all RNs say patient care suffers through --

-- delays in following through with orders, assessment

-- critical watching of patients' fragile conditions

-- inadequate time for appropriate delegation and supervision of

non-RNs

The report was also alarming from the patient perspective. Nearly 30% of all residents believe the quality of care that they or a loved one received during hospitalization was negatively affected by an inadequate number of nurses assigned to the care for patients on their unit.

A young father in Thief River Falls gives particular poignancy to the statistics. Chris Bjerken described the dire circumstances surrounding his daughter's birth. "It was 3:00am. I was in the delivery room with a doctor, my wife and newborn daughter - who was choking. She's bra
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SOURCE Minnesota Nurses Association
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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