Longer Nurse Tenure Leads to Higher Quality

Longer nurse tenures are associated with shorter patient length of stay and better quality of care, according to a study published in the American Economics Journal: Applied Economics.

The study reviewed 900,000 patient admissions over four years in the Veterans Administration Healthcare System. Each one-year increase in nurse tenure was linked to a 1.3 percent decrease in patient LOS. Conversely, adding new RN team members or losing experienced team members both lengthened patient stays.

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The study also found paying staff nurses to work overtime rather than hiring temporary staffing was associated with lower costs and shorter LOS.

Researchers concluded the study's findings should inform healthcare executives of the importance of retaining nursing staff and should inform their policy-making decisions concerning nursing staff.

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