The American Nurses Association on behalf of the larger nursing community announces the release of a first of its kind study on the economic value of nursing.
SILVER SPRING, MD -- The American Nurses Association (ANA) is pleased to announce, on behalf of the larger nursing community, the release of a first of its kind study quantifying the economic value of nursing. The study was conducted by the Lewin Group, supported by grants from Nursing's Agenda for the Future, the ANA and a coalition of nursing associations dedicated to addressing nursing workforce issues. The research, first proposed in 2003 and published in the current issue of the journal Medical Care, is the result of years of analysis of data on the correlation between patient outcomes and nurse staffing levels. To read the complete article please visit www.lww-medicalcare.com.
"Nurses are a vital component to the health care system," said ANA President Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR. "This nursing funded study provides a model that shows how nurses affect the delivery of cost-effective, high quality care, and prevent adverse events. This project was the culmination of years of research that could not have been possible without the tireless work and cooperation of The American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Oncology Nursing Society, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the 85 other nursing organizations who contributed to the project. I applaud their outstanding efforts, and commend them on this significant contribution to the nursing profession."
The research culled findings from 28 different studies that analyzed the relationship between higher RN staffing and several patient outcomes: reduced hospital-based mortality, hospital-acquired pneumonia, unplanned extubation, failure to rescue, nosocomial bloodstream infections, and length of stay. The findings demonstrate that as nursing staffing levels increase, patient risk of complications and hospital length of stay decrease, resulting in medical costs savings, improved national productivity and lives saved.
"Estimates from this study suggest that adding 133,000 RNs to the acute care hospital workforce would save 5900 lives per year. The productivity value of total deaths averted is equivalent to more than $1.3 billion per year, or about $9900 per additional RN per year." The additional nurse staffing would decrease hospital days by 3.6 million. More rapid recovery translates into increased national productivity, conservatively estimated at $231 million per year. "Medical savings is estimated at $6.1 billion, or $46,000 per additional RN per year. Combining medical savings with increased productivity, the partial estimates of economic value averages $57,700 for each of the additional 133,000 RNs."
The research findings suggest significant policy related issues. First and foremost, healthcare facilities cannot realize the full economic value of professional nursing due to current reimbursement systems. Additionally, the economic value of nursing is "greater for payers than for individual healthcare facilities."