Temporary Nurses Does Not Lower Quality Of Care

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Temporary Nurses

Hospitals' use of temporary nurses does not lower quality of care forpatients because the supplemental nurses have the same qualificationsas permanent nurses and in some cases are more qualified, according toa recent study in the Journal of Nursing Administration, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.

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Lead author Linda Aiken, director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research,and colleagues used data from the 2000 National Sample Survey ofRegistered Nurses to determine if qualifications differed betweentemporary and permanent nurses. The survey also was used to determineif nurse outcomes and adverse events varied according to the proportionof temporary nurses employed by a hospital.

More than half ofthe temporary nurses surveyed said that their supplemental positionswere secondary to full-time jobs as permanent nurses. About 35% oftemporary nurses surveyed work in intensive care units, according tothe report. The report also found that temporary nurses were morelikely than permanent nurses to hold baccalaureate or other advanceddegrees, in addition to being more likely to have received theirmedical training within the last 10 years.

Aiken said, "Thereis no evidence whatsoever that the use of supplemental nurses byhospitals has any adverse implications for quality of care," adding,"Indeed, the findings of our study suggest that having more nurses isbetter for patients and having (temporary nurses) improves quality ofcare" (Stewart, Newark Star-Ledger, 8/14).
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