Objective: To study the impact of nurse-to-patient ratios on patient length of stay (LOS) in computer simulations of emergency department (ED) care.
Methods: Multiple 24-hour computer simulations of emergency care were used to evaluate the impact of different minimum nurse-to-patient ratios related to ED LOS, which is composed of wait (arrival to bed placement) and bedtime (bed placement to leave bed).
Results: Increasing the number of patients per nurse resulted in increased ED LOS. Mean bedtimes in minutes were impacted by nurse-to-patient ratios.
Conclusions: In computer simulation of ED care, increasing the number of patients per nurse resulted in increasing delays in care (ie, increasing bedtime).