Safety Outcomes – Temporary Staff

Angie SzumlinskiNews

We have all been besieged with post-pandemic staffing challenges. The new buzzword is “staffing” and at pretty much every water cooler you can hear the frustration in the voices of providers. Adding to the problem, we are now losing the option of utilizing temporary CNAs to assist in basic care for our residents. So, what’s a provider to do?

In 2010, the National Library of Medicine published a study on “Use of Temporary Nurses and Nurse and Patient Safety Outcomes in Acute Care Hospital Units”. The study was conducted as many hospitals were utilizing temporary (agency) staff, but no one was looking at the outcomes related to this practice. When I was an administrator, the word “agency” was considered a 4-letter word, you just didn’t use agency staff. Well, this study may have been ahead of its time!

The study found that nurses working on units with high levels (more than 15%) of temporary RN hours were more likely to report back injuries and greater levels of patient falls than those who did not use temporary RNs. In conclusion, the recommendation from NIH was to keep the levels of temporary nurse use to approximately 15%. Do you know what percentage you are using? Have you reviewed your fall log recently? Hmmmm, something to noodle on, don’t you think? Stay the course, stay well and stay informed!