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VOLUME 49 | NUMBER 6 | DECEMBER 2014


Nurse Value-Added and Patient Outcomes in Acute Care

Keywords: Nurse value-added;patient outcomes;nurse education

Objective: The aims of the study were to (1) estimate the relative nurse effectiveness, or individual nurse value-added (NVA), to patients’ clinical condition change during hospitalization; (2) examine nurse characteristics contributing to NVA; and (3) estimate the contribution of value-added nursing care to patient outcomes.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Electronic data on 1,203 staff nurses matched with 7,318 adult medical–surgical patients discharged between July 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 from an urban Magnet-designated, 854-bed teaching hospital.

Study Design: Retrospective observational longitudinal analysis using a covariate-adjustment value-added model with nurse fixed effects.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Data were extracted from the study hospital's electronic patient records and human resources databases.

Principal Findings: Nurse effects were jointly significant and explained 7.9 percent of variance in patient clinical condition change during hospitalization. NVA was positively associated with having a baccalaureate degree or higher (0.55, p = .04) and expertise level (0.66, p = .03). NVA contributed to patient outcomes of shorter length of stay and lower costs.

Conclusions: Nurses differ in their value-added to patient outcomes. The ability to measure individual nurse relative value-added opens the possibility for development of performance metrics, performance-based rankings, and merit-based salary schemes to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.

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