The impact of different nursing skill mix models on patient outcomes in a respiratory care center

Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2012 Dec;9(4):227-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6787.2012.00246.x. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Background: Many hospitals have reformed hospital policies and changed nursing models to cope with shortages in nursing staff and control medical costs. However, the nursing skill mix model that most successfully achieves both cost effectiveness and quality care has yet to be determined.

Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the impact of different nurse staffing models on patient outcomes in a respiratory care center (RCC).

Methods: Retrospective data from 2006 to 2008 were obtained from records monitoring nursing care quality, as well as patient records and nursing personnel costs in an RCC as a medical center, in southern Taiwan. A total of 487 patients were categorized into two groups according to the RCC's mix of nursing staff. The "RN/Aide" group comprised 247 patients who received RN and aide care, with a 0.7-0.8 proportion of RNs, from July 2006 to June 2007. The other 240 patients ("All-RN") received 100% RN care from January 2008 to December 2008.

Results: The results of this study indicated no significant differences in occurrence of pressure ulcer or respiratory tract infections, days of hospitalization, mortality, or nursing costs. However, significant differences were observed in ventilator weaning and occurrence of urinary tract and bloodstream infections.

Conclusions: A higher proportion of RNs was associated not only with a lower rate of urinary tract infection but also with more patients being weaned successfully from ventilators. The findings of this study have implications for how managers and administrators manage nurse staffing in respiratory care.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Evidence-Based Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Hospital Costs
  • Humans
  • Infections / nursing
  • Lung Diseases / nursing*
  • Lung Diseases / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Nursing
  • Nursing Assistants / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / economics
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Nursing, Team / economics
  • Nursing, Team / organization & administration
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / economics
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / economics
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / organization & administration*
  • Respiration, Artificial / nursing
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ventilator Weaning / nursing*