Nurse staffing matters: no sh*?t Sherlock.


The start of the month saw the publication of our latest research on nurse staffing levels in the BMJ Open [1]. In most respects, the finding is not new and not surprising. Using administrative data from English acute NHS Trusts and the RN4CAST survey of hospital nurses, we found that hospitals with fewer nurses tended to have higher mortality rates. I recall similar findings a few years ago being greeted with a commentator on the NT website with the pithy phrase “…no s?!t Sherlock…” (or words to that effect).  So, what was new and why is (another) study showing the same thing important?

Well, for one thing, the finding is not entirely obvious. Not all studies have found an association and it is certainly possible, even likely, that the medical staffing level, which tends to be closely related to nurse staffing levels, are more important when looking at mortality rates…

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