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Letter: Our profession must unite to fight the introduction of the nursing associate role

The decision to introduce nursing associates goes against all the evidence says Jenny Hunt
nurse associate role

The decision to introduce nursing associates goes against all the evidence says Jenny Hunt

The many nurses who have used your Facebook page to raise concerns about nursing associates are absolutely right. The decision to develop this role goes against all the evidence about the relationship between Registered Nurses and patient outcomes. Substantial research now shows that the key to good outcomes is having more, not fewer, RNs. At conference in 2014 Linda Aiken pointed out that:

  • Every 10 point increase in non-nurses is associated with 11% higher mortality, 10% higher ratings of poor patient satisfaction, 15% higher ratings of poor safety
  • Substituting one non-nurse for a nurse for each 25 patients increases mortality by 21%
  • Every 1 patient added to a nurses work load is associated with a 7% increase in deaths after common surgery
  • Every 10% increase in bachelors educated nurses
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The decision to introduce nursing associates goes against all the evidence says Jenny Hunt

The many nurses who have used your Facebook page to raise concerns about nursing associates are absolutely right. The decision to develop this role goes against all the evidence about the relationship between Registered Nurses and patient outcomes. Substantial research now shows that the key to good outcomes is having more, not fewer, RNs. At conference in 2014 Linda Aiken pointed out that:

  • ‘Every 10 point increase in non-nurses is associated with 11% higher mortality, 10% higher ratings of poor patient satisfaction, 15% higher ratings of poor safety
  • Substituting one non-nurse for a nurse for each 25 patients increases mortality by 21%
  • Every 1 patient added to a nurse’s work load is associated with a 7% increase in deaths after common surgery
  • Every 10% increase in bachelor’s educated nurses is associated with 7% lower mortality.’

Latest research suggests that just one additional trained nurse per 10 beds could reduce the chance of death after 30 days by up to 28%, and after one year by up to 12%.*   

Yet nurse leaders and politicians continue to ignore this evidence and pursue ideas which have no sound basis. The profession needs to mobilise to fight this.

Jennifer Hunt FRCN


References

*Myint P K et al  Important factors in predicting mortality

Outcome from stroke: findings from the Anglia Stroke Clinical Network Evaluation Study Age and Ageing 2016; 0: 1–7

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