In the July 30 edition of ASA’s Staffing Week E-newsletter, contributing editors reported that the highly antitipated temporary nurse staffing research of Dr. Linda Aiken will be published in the July-August issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration. Read below to get the full scoop on Dr. Aiken’s work and her findings…
“Imagine your whole work force dogged by a rumor—a persistent shadow that follows your temporary staff and your business. Health care staffing companies have lived with that shadow for years: the perception that temporary nurses provide lower quality of care than permanent nurses. In 2003, the Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit organization, went so far as to declare temporary nurses “a threat to patient safety.”
To counter this perception, ASA contracted with the University of Pennsylvania to examine the relationship between the use of temporary staff and patient outcomes (including quality of life, length of stay, and health status). Linda Aiken, Ph.D., RN, director of the university’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, led the study. Nineteen health care staffing firms joined ASA in sponsoring it.
Aiken and her team concluded that nurses employed by staffing companies are as well or better qualified than permanent nurses employed by hospitals and that the higher use of temporary nurses does not lead to safety and quality problems for patients or nurses.
The results come as no surprise to members of the ASA health care section. “The nurses we provide are a tremendous asset to hospitals that need to have adequate coverage for nursing care,” says David Savitsky of ATC Healthcare Services, chairman of the section’s policy council.
While Aiken’s research continues, the findings of her team thus far will be reported in the July–August issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration, which goes to 6,000 nurse executives and their associates in hospitals and other health care settings.
With the current nurse shortage looming in today’s healthcare facilities, Dr. Linda Aiken’s findings will show just how valuable temp nurses are to the survival and success of the American healthcare system.