Every year, the Massachusetts Nurses Association conducts a survey of ALL nurses in Massachusetts. The most recent survey was put before all nurses in April 2018, and the survey results clearly show that things are getting worse for patients.
Eight-in-ten nurses (81%) report that hospital patients today are sicker than hospital patients 10 years ago.
Thirty-six percent of RNs report patient deaths directly attributable to having too many patients to care for at one time – a sharp and alarming increase from previous survey results (2017 – 29%; 2015 – 25%; 2013 – 23%).
The results underscore the sense of urgency in passing the Patient Safety Act as patient safety concerns continued to increase at dangerous rates as compared to just four years ago:
- 64% of RNs report injury and harm to patients due to understaffing – up from 46% in 2014.
- 66% of RNs report longer hospital stays for patients – up from 51% in 2014.
- 72% of RNs report readmission of patients – up from 56% in 2014.
- 77% of RNs report medication errors due to unsafe patient assignments – up from 57% in 2014.
- 90% of RNs report that they don’t have the time to properly comfort and care for patients and families due to unsafe patient assignments – up from 82% in 2014.
- 86% report RNs don’t have the time to educate patients and provide adequate discharge planning – up from 68% in 2014.
The Reality of Patient Care Decisions
Hospital executives opposed to the Patient Safety Act argue that decisions to address understaffing should be made at the bedside, but the reality is that those adjustments are not made.
Over six-in-10 nurses (63%) say management only sometimes adjusts nurse staffing levels when RNs face unsafe patient loads, and 40% of nurses report that hospital administrators are not responsive to input from RNs regarding patient loads and nurse staffing levels.