A study out of the University of California, Davis has found that the state’s landmark nurse-to-patient ratios legislation is keeping nursing staff safer on a number of fronts.
Researchers examined illness and injury data for nurses before and after the law came into effect in 2004. Data was taken from the state’s Bureau of Labor Statics, the California Employment Development Department, as well as hospital employment data.
The research found that the law and related staffing improvements were connect to a 32% decrease in injuries suffered by registered nurses. The study also found a 38% decrease among licenced practical nurses (the American equivalent of enrolled nurses) as a result of the law.
The researchers suggested that the lower workloads and additional staff may have improved the quality in which some procedures were conducted. For example, the study found a reduction in needlestick injuries, perhaps due to the easing of time pressures on nurses. Similarly, they found a reduction in back and shoulder injuries, which may be the result of having more nurses to reposition patients.