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Study: Temp Nurses Save Lives

December 10 2012

Supplemental nurses could be “lifesavers” during times of critical nurse shortages in U.S. hospitals, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, the American Staffing Association announced.

 “Our study showed these nurses could be lifesavers,” said Linda Aiken, lead researcher on the study. “Hiring temporary nurses can alleviate shortages that could produce higher patient mortality.”

Aiken is a professor of sociology and nursing and a director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research.

The study also concludes that poor patient outcomes once believed associated with the hiring of supplemental nurses in hospitals are likely caused by poor working conditions within those hospitals.

It was based on data collected in California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It examined controlled data from more than 1.3 million patients and 40,000 nurses in more than 600 U.S. hospitals.

“This research underscores the important role that supplemental nurses play in hospitals around the country,” said Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association. “Not only are supplemental nurses just as qualified as permanent nurses, they improve the quality of patient care.”

The American Staffing Association Foundation, along with the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health and the American Nurses Foundation, provided partial funding for the study.

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