Mandated nurse staffing ratios in California: a comparison of staffing and nursing-sensitive outcomes pre- and postregulation

Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2007 Nov;8(4):238-50. doi: 10.1177/1527154407312737.


This article examines the impact of mandated nursing ratios in California on key measures of nursing quality among adults in acute care hospitals. This study is a follow-up and extension of our first analysis exploring nurse staffing and nursing-sensitive outcomes comparing 2002 pre-ratios regulation data to 2004 postratios regulation data. For the current study we used postregulation ratios data from 2004 and 2006 to assess trends in staffing and outcomes. Findings for nurse staffing affirmed the trends noted in 2005 and indicated that changes in nurse staffing were consistent with expected increases in the proportion of licensed staff per patient. This report includes an exploratory examination of the relationship between staffing and nursing-sensitive patient outcomes. However anticipated improvements in nursing-sensitive patient outcomes were not observed. This report contributes to the growing understanding of the impacts of regulatory staffing mandates on hospital operations and patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • California
  • Humans
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Pressure Ulcer / epidemiology
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Restraint, Physical / statistics & numerical data