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Measuring nursing-sensitive patient outcomes using publicly available data provides exciting opportunities for the nursing profession to quantify the patient care impact of staffing changes at individual hospitals and to make comparisons among hospitals with differing staffing patterns. Using data from California and New York, this study tested the feasibility of measuring such outcomes in acute care hospitals and examining relationships between these outcomes and nurse staffing.

Nursing intensity weights were used to acuity-adjust the patient data. Both higher nurse staffing and higher proportion of RNs were significantly related to shorter lengths of stay. Lower adverse outcome rates were more consistently related to a higher proportion of RNs.

(C) 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.