The Impact of Nurse Staffing on Hospital Costs and Patient Length of Stay: Impact of Nurse Staffing on Hospital Cost -------------------------------------------------
Impact of Nurse Staffing on Hospital Cost
Previous studies demonstrated that significant cost reductions were possible through effective staff management. Increasing the proportion of hours provided by RNs would yield cost savings resulting from avoiding death and reduced LOS (Needleman, Buerhaus, Stewart, Zelevinsky, & Mattke, 2006). Many studies encouraged reducing costs by increasing the caring activities of RNs (Amaravadi et al., 2000; Cho et al., 2003; Dimick et al., 2001; McGillis Hall et al., 2004). Al though increasing the number of RNs was positively related to increasing hospital expenditures; it did not affect hospital profit significantly. In contrast, greater non-registered nurse hours led not only to higher hospital expenditures but also lower profits (McCue et al., 2003). An interaction effect among nurse staffing, cost of care, and efficiency of nursing care was noted. Three studies (Behner et al., 1990; Cho et al., 2003; Schultz et al., 1998) suggested that cost reductions were possible by increasing RN nursing hours. They stressed that higher RN nursing hours would contribute to improved patient outcomes, especially nosocomial infection, pneumonia, and other medical complications, while in turn decreasing costs of patient care. The results of these studies reflected the fact that higher RN nursing hours contributed to the improvement of patient safety and efficiency, thereby reducing the LOS and the cost of care in the long term. In business fields, more experienced staff increase organizational labor expenditures. However, in health care, significant reductions in overall costs by increasing the number of experienced nurses was reported by Bloom and colleagues (1997). The lower costs were explained in part by the higher...