Nurses' Perceptions of Nurse Staffing and the Impact on Patient Falls
Patient falls contribute to unnecessary injury and incapacitation for patients and are also a major source of stress for the nurses caring for patients who fall. Hospitals are no longer being reimbursed for extended hospital stays related to injuries caused by patient falls and action is needed to decrease such events. Nurse staffing has been shown to play a critical role in determining the incidence of patient falls, with better nurse staffing decreasing the likelihood of a patient falling. The purpose of this study was to determine nurses’ perceptions of nurse staffing and its impact on the incidence of patient falls. The methodology included a short, self-administered survey developed by the researcher. Nurses answered 15 questions related to the number of patients they cared for, number of patient falls, and factors that could influence falls. Nurses who completed the survey reported caring for between 2-7 patients on their last shift and reported between 0-2 falls on their assignment within the previous three months. Nurses indicated that factors such as admission and discharge activity, the number of available staff on the unit, and the acuity of patients on the unit impacted patient falls. Further research is needed to determine the relationship between nurse staffing and the incidence of patient falls. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are in an ideal position to participate in research related to this topic as well to advocate for nursing’s role in preventing patient falls.