The higher the levels of nurse understaffing, the greater the risk of infection among infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), according to a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers examined data from more than 11,000 infants who spent at least three days in NICUs, as well as data on NICU staffing levels of registered nurses.
According to the study, nurse understaffing occurred for 32% of all infants in NICUs, and for 85% of infants who required higher levels of care. In many instances, approximately one additional nurse per ten infants overall, and one additional nurse per three infants requiring higher levels of care, would allow hospitals to meet minimum national staffing guidelines. Although researchers were able to show an association between NICU nursing staffing and infant infection rates, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect link.
How does your organization allocate nursing resources in the NICU?