Research links nurses' workloads to patient safety

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The latest findings from a three-year nursing workforce study confirm what a mountain of research has told us for more than 20 years—that people die every day because there aren't enough nurses to care for them safely, AFT President Randi Weingarten says.

The study, published in The Lancet, was conducted by RN4CAST, a consortium of investigators from 12 European countries.

"Safe nurse staffing levels help reduce medical errors, hospital infections and patient falls—all things that cost us lives," Weingarten says. "It's unconscionable that more hasn't been done to prevent this tragic and preventable loss of life. And in many hospitals, funding cuts and the resulting layoffs of nurses have only made the crisis worse.

"One preventable death in a hospital is one too many. That's why our affiliates, including the Washington State Nurses Association and the Health Professionals and Allied Employees in New Jersey, are pushing for safe staffing legislation in their respective states. Congress and the Council of the District of Columbia also are considering legislation to ensure safe staffing. We need to act immediately on these and other measures to ensure that all patients receive the high-quality, lifesaving care they deserve."

[AFT press release]