Patricia Hickey, vice president of critical care, conducted a large-scale study from hospitals throughout the country and cardiovascular services at Boston Children’s Hospital, revealing that nurse education levels and experience quite significantly correlates with patient mortality. Another study was conducted at the Radboud University teaching hospital in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, with similar results as well.
According to the study conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital, in order to decrease fatality rates among patients specifically undergoing cardiac surgery, analysts suggest there be no more than 20 percent of nurses with less than two years of hands on clinical experience present in pediatrics ICUs.
The survey examined 20,407patiends undergoing pediatric cardiac surgery. According to the study, in-hospital mortality rates were affected by the number of years experience nurses had; when nurses had less than two years of experience, the rates increased. Hickey told Boston Magazine, “There is a continued need for retention strategies to ensure that experienced nurses remain in the pediatric critical care environment.”
Note: the total number of clinical experience was the major factor in this study, not how many years of experience nurses had in the ICU.
Similar findings, different country.
The Europe-wide study of hospitals and nurses also highlighted the affects of fatality rates among patients of nurses with varied education levels. The study was conducted by a combination of European and American researchers who looked at nurses’ qualifications across 300 hospitals in nine European countries. The study documented data for 422,730 patients admitted for surgery at participating hospitals in the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The study done at the Radboud University teaching hospital required 23 nurses to examine a computer-generated cardiograph and practice their diagnostics skills; half of the nurses had university degrees in nursing while the other half had qualified through technical training. All 23 of the nurses were registered in one-year specialized courses to better develop their skills at the time, and the group included a mix of ages, qualifications, and experience levels.
Research shows, that each 10 percent increase within the percentile of nurses holding a bachelor’s degree correlated with a 7 percent decrease of fatality among the patient group.
Nursing Education Variations
While nursing education varies rom country to country, European guidelines require nurses to complete a minimum of 4,600 hours of relevant training, spread over three years; half of which should be spend training in a clinical hands-on setting.
Nursing education in the United States varies from state to state. Some states may required 500 hours of clinical experience, and limit the faculty-student ratio in the clinical setting to 1:10, while other states may not have minimal requirements for clinical hours but only allow a 1:8 faculty-student ratio in the setting. Some states may possess no requirement in clinical settings or experience at all.