Are hospital nurse staffing practices associated with postoperative cardiac events and death? A systematic review

Autoři: Jonathan Bourgon Labelle aff001;  Li-Anne Audet aff003;  Paul Farand aff001;  Christian M. Rochefort aff002
Působiště autorů: Division of Cardiology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada aff001;  Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada aff002;  Centre de Recherche Charles-Le Moyne Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean sur les Innovations en Santé, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada aff003;  School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article



Postoperative cardiac events are frequent complications of surgery, and their occurrence could be associated with suboptimal nurse staffing practices, but the existing evidence remains scattered. We systematically reviewed studies linking nurse staffing practices to postoperative cardiac events and two related outcomes, all-cause mortality and failure-to-rescue.


A systematic search of the English/French literature was undertaken in the CINAHL, PsychInfo, and Medline databases. Studies were included if they: a) were published between 1996 and 2018; b) used a quantitative design; c) examined the association between at least one of seven staffing practices of interest (i.e., staffing levels, skill mix, work environment characteristics, levels of education and experience of the registered nurses, and overtime or temporary staff use) and postoperative cardiac events, mortality or failure-to-rescue; and d) were conducted among surgical patients. Data extraction, analysis, and synthesis, along with study methodological quality appraisal, were performed by two authors. High methodological heterogeneity precluded a formal meta-analysis.


Among 3,375 retrieved articles, 44 studies were included (39 cross-sectional, 3 longitudinal, 1 case-control, 1 interrupted time series). Existing evidence shows that higher nurse staffing levels, a higher proportion of registered nurses with an education at the baccalaureate degree level, and more supportive work environments are related to lower rates of both 30-day mortality and failure-to-rescue. Other staffing practices were less often studied and showed inconsistent associations with mortality or failure-to-rescue. Similarly, few studies (n = 10) examined the associations between nurse staffing practices and postoperative cardiac events and showed inconsistent results.


Higher nurse staffing levels, higher registered nurse education (baccalaureate degree level) and more supportive work environments were cross-sectionally associated with lower 30-day mortality and failure-to-rescue rates among surgical patients, but longitudinal studies are required to corroborate these associations. The existing evidence regarding postoperative cardiac events is limited, which warrants further investigation.

Klíčová slova:

Database searching – Death rates – Medical risk factors – Nurses – Patients – Surgical and invasive medical procedures – Systematic reviews – Nursing education


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