According to Health Affairs, “Several trends in hospital use and staffing patterns have converged to create potentially hazardous conditions for patient safety” (Rogers, Hwang, Scott, Aiken, & Dinges, 2013, p. 1). Addressing the staffing is at Patton-Fuller Community Hospital is the current issue. Trend analysis happens when analyzing the same information to help predict changes based on historical data. Using trend analysis will help forecast staffing needs based on past staffing numbers collected at Patton-Fuller. Several factors, such as bed capacity, bed availability, rate of patient turnover, and available staff, are used when figuring staffing needs for organizations. The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) states, “Hospitals with low nurse staffing levels tend to have higher rates of poor patient outcomes such as pneumonia, shock, cardiac arrest, and urinary tract infections” (Stanton, 2004, p. 1) and these are risk factors that Patton-Fuller wants to avoid because of their staffing model.
Currently the immediate need at Patton-Fuller is the 5:1 ratio of patient to nurse that indicates a shortage of nurses. Reviewing the Patton-Fuller Community Hospital Nursing Statistics spreadsheet allows specific deductions to be made based on the collected data for a 12-month period. The number of patients per day makes a steady decline between March and July and increases between August and February with a small dip in December. The nurse staffing numbers also fluctuate with the decrease and increase in patients. These numbers show when the hospital needs to have more nurses available because of the influxes in the inpatient population at Patton-Fuller. In addition to the staffing prediction, there is the financial piece of the spreadsheet.
Trend analysis of the financial portion of the influxes in nurse staffing shows where Patton-Fuller can predict an increase in wages with an increased need for nurses. Planning becomes more predictable when there is more accumulated yearly data documented for analysis. Patton-Fuller can, when they may need to, increase their nursing staff with traveling nurses for six months out of the year or make a more costly decision about hiring more nurses as regular staff to decrease poor patient outcomes. Making the decision to increase staff will create happier nurses with lighter patient loads and increase the patient’s positive experience because of more one-on-one time between the patient and the nurse.
Rogers, A. E., Hwang, W., Scott, L. D., Aiken, L. H., & Dinges, D. F. (2013). The Working Hours Of Hospital Staff Nurses And Patient Safety. Health Affairs. Retrieved from http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/23/4/202.long Stanton, M. W. (2004). Hospital Nurse Staffing and Quality of Care. Retrieved from http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/services/nursestaffing/index.html