The US healthcare sector will employ 3.2 million nurses by 2022. Presently, 6% of nurses care for one patient, whereas 11% care for three patients. Moreover, 13%, 16%, 17%, and 18% of nurses care for six, five, four, and two patients respectively. In spite of this, 66% of registered nurses (RNs) say that they have limited coverage and clinical support.
Duties and Job Satisfaction
Nursing has ranked as the leading profession regarding honesty and ethical standards over the past 13 years. With this in mind, professional communication accounts for 17.3% of the time nurses spend at work. Additionally, nurses spend 16.2%, 11.3%, 10.3% and 9.6% of their time on medication-related tasks, indirect care, direct care and in transit respectively.
Patient Health Outcomes
In general, patient mortality at hospitals with high nurse-to-patient ratios is 60% lower compared to hospitals with low nurse-to-patient ratios. In terms of nurse-to-patient interactions, 86% of nurses have no time to comfort and care for patients, 81% are unable to educate patients, 61% report medication errors related to unsafe patient assignments, 56% report patient readmission due to unsafe patient assignments, 50% report injury to patients due to understaffing and 25% report fatalities related to understaffing.
The Benefits of Better Health Outcome
The benefits of better health outcomes include:
- Lower health care costs to the tune of $68 million annually due to fewer patient infections
- Fewer medical errors
- Lower hospital readmission rates
- Fewer days spent in hospital by patients
The Benefits of Investing in Nursing Education
Investing in nursing education improves patient health outcomes and care costs substantially. This is because better-educated nurses can implement evidence-based practices, coordinate patient care, compare supply and service costs, as well as oversee lab tests.
Nurses play a significant role in the US healthcare sector because they handle medication-related tasks, communicate with patients and doctors and perform ward-related activities.