Hospital staffing, organization, and quality of care: Cross-national findings

Nurs Outlook. 2002 Sep-Oct;50(5):187-94. doi: 10.1067/mno.2002.126696.


Objective: To examine the effects of nurse staffing and organizational support for nursing care on nurses' dissatisfaction with their jobs, nurse burnout, and nurse reports of quality of patient care in an international sample of hospitals.

Design: Multisite cross-sectional survey

Setting: Adult acute-care hospitals in the U.S. (Pennsylvania), Canada (Ontario and British Columbia), England and Scotland.

Study participants: 10319 nurses working on medical and surgical units in 303 hospitals across the five jurisdictions.

Interventions: None Main outcome measures: Nurse job dissatisfaction, burnout, and nurse-rated quality of care.

Results: Dissatisfaction, burnout and concerns about quality of care were common among hospital nurses in all five sites. Organizational/managerial support for nursing had a pronounced effect on nurse dissatisfaction and burnout, and both organizational support for nursing and nurse staffing were directly, and independently, related to nurse-assessed quality of care. Multivariate results imply that nurse reports of low quality care were three times as likely in hospitals with low staffing and support for nurses as in hospitals with high staffing and support.

Conclusion: Adequate nurse staffing and organizational/managerial support for nursing are key to improving the quality of patient care, to diminishing nurse job dissatisfaction and burnout and, ultimately, to improving the nurse retention problem in hospital settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Nursing Services / standards
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital*
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States