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NPs Improve Mortality Rates, Patient Satisfaction, Costs, Study Finds

Author(s): By Dave Gilmartin

Hospitals with more Nurse Practitioners have 21 percent fewer deaths after common surgical procedures, higher patient satisfaction and lower costs, according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

The study, published in Medical Care, studied more than 1.4 million patients in 579 hospitals.

“This is the first large study to document the significant added value of hospitals employing nurse practitioners in acute inpatient hospital care as well as having good RN staffing,” said lead author Professor Linda Aiken, PhD, RN of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. “When we compared hospitals with the most and fewest NPs, we estimated that hospitals with more NPs had 21% fewer deaths after common surgical procedures and 5% lower Medicare costs per beneficiary.”

Higher RN satisfaction too

Aside from leading to greater patient satisfaction as well as better patient safety and quality of care ratings, the authors said the presence of more NPs in a hospital leads to greater job satisfaction among RNs at the facility.

The RNs in those hospitals had greater confidence that their patients would be able to handle their care when they are discharged, something confirmed by the lower readmission rates when there were more NPs present.

“Our study shows that NPs in advanced clinical roles in inpatient care are a very valuable addition to excellent RN and physician care,” said co-author Regina Cunningham, PhD, RN, Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “This important study shows that nurse practitioners enhance hospitals’ success achieving clinical excellence, patient satisfaction, and lower per patient expenditures while also contributing positively to overall clinician wellbeing during challenging times.”

The findings are consistent with other recent studies that have looked the quality of care provided by nurse practitioners.

The authors of the Penn study said it is unknown if adding even more NPs in a hospital setting has a more drastic impact on care, costs and job satisfaction.

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