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Nurse Staffing Levels and Teamwork: A Cross-Sectional Study of Patient Care Units in Acute Care Hospitals

Authors

  • Beatrice J. Kalisch PhD, RN, FAAN,

    1. Rho, Titus Distinguished Professor of Nursing and Director, Nursing Business and Health Systems, University of Michigan, School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI
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  • Kyung Hee Lee MPH, RN

    1. Rho and Lambda Alpha-at-Large, Research assistant and PhD candidate, University of Michigan, School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI
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Correspondence
Dr. Beatrice J. Kalisch, Titus Professor and Director, Nursing Business and Health Systems, University of Michigan, School of Nursing, 400 N. Ingalls Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. E-mail: bkalisch@umich.edu

Abstract

Purpose: To determine if nurse staffing predicts teamwork.

Design: A cross-sectional, descriptive design with a sample of nursing staff (N= 2,545) on 52 patient care units in four hospitals was utilized.

Methods: The Nursing Teamwork Survey was utilized to collect data on the level of perceived nursing teamwork on each of the study units. In addition, nursing staffing data were collected for each study unit.

Findings: Higher levels of nurse staffing were related to better teamwork. Specifically, the greater the hours per patient day, the higher the level of overall teamwork on the unit (β= 0.417, p= .033). Also the greater the skill mix, the higher the level of overall teamwork on the unit (β= 0.436, p= .009).

Conclusions: Adequate levels of staffing are needed to ensure nursing teamwork.

Clinical Relevance: The ability to provide quality and safe care is associated with teamwork, which in turn requires adequate staffing.

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