Sumary of Study compares three types of state legislations aimed at ensuring adequate nurse staffing:
- Across the nation, states are grappling with alternative approaches to address the heightened problem of low nurse staffing in hospitals.
- Staffing committees: requiring hospitals to establish committees, including at least 50 percent RNs, to develop a nurse staffing plan based on patient needs.
- Public reporting: requiring hospitals to make staffing data available to the public, with the goal of putting market pressure on understaffed hospitals to improve staffing ratios.
- The analysis included data on approximately 425 hospitals in one state (California) with mandated staffing ratios, 1,000 hospitals in seven states that legislated staffing committees, 325 hospitals in five states that legislated public reporting, and 3,400 hospitals in states with no nurse staffing legislation.
- Consistent with previous studies, the California law setting mandated staffing ratios led to a significant increase in RN staffing: by about 1 hour per patient per day.
- The staffing mandate also brought a small increase in staffing by nursing assistive personnel (NAPs), who assist with patient care under the supervision of RNs (about 0.25 hour per patient), but had no effect on LPN staffing.
- Related StoriesIn the main analysis, staffing committees and public reporting had no effect on RN or NAP staffing.
- The staffing committee approach had a small negative effect on LPN staffing, while public reporting had a small positive effect.