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Nurse staffing levels — and especially job-related burnout — seem to be contributing factors in hospital infection rates, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control.
Researchers examined staffing levels and rates of urinary tract and surgical-site infection in 160 acute care hospitals in Pennsylvania. In addition, they surveyed nurses using a questionnaire designed to detect job-related burnout.
They found that although lower staff-to-patient ratios were associated with higher infection rates, an even greater association was observed between staff burnout and infection rates. They estimate that every 10% increase in the prevalence of nursing staff burnout increases the rate of urinary tract and surgical-site infections by 1 and 2 per 10000 patients, respectively.