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Impact of nursing on hospital patient mortality: a focused review and related policy implications

Abstract

Understanding the determinants of patient mortality can lead to the development of strategies that reduce mortality and prevent unnecessary death. This paper synthesizes the body of published research that explores determinants of mortality for patients who have experienced acute care hospitalization. Fifteen research manuscripts were found to meet the selection criteria through an electronic search in MEDLINE and CINAHL (1986–2004). Seven categories of determinants of mortality were found: nurse-physician relationships, nurse staffing characteristics, physician characteristics, professional practice environment, nurse experience, registered nurse educational preparation, and clinical nursing support. Implications and recommendations for improving quality and safety in hospital care are discussed.

  • mortality
  • patient safety
  • policy
  • nurse staffing
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