October 24, 2002

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Stephenson
PHONE: 410-955-5384
E-MAIL: gstephenson@jhmi.edu

Hopkins' Response to Nursing Shortage:
Not Just the Number of Nurses, but How You Use Them

As the article on hospital nurse staffing and patient mortality in the October 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association strikingly points out, the critical national nursing shortage may be affecting patient safety. With no appreciable increase in the nurse supply expected, The Johns Hopkins Hospital is looking at ways to maximize the use of existing nursing staffs with the ultimate goal of improving patient care quality AND increasing the level of job satisfaction among nurses.

Called "The Johns Hopkins Medicine Innovations in Quality Patient Care: Nursing Practice Innovations," the Hopkins program seeks to "create an environment that will promote efficient utilization of time and resources, therefore allowing the registered nurse to significantly increase time at the patient's bedside." Studies at Hopkins show that nurses can spend less than half of their work day involved in direct patient care, with an equal amount of time spent on documentation. Other activities account for the rest of the time. One surprising finding was that the typical nurse walks almost one mile per day!

Hopkins has launched a series of pilot initiatives ranging from technology support to role realignment to allow nurses to do what they do best—care for their patients.

There are a number of nur se leaders at Hopkins who can comment on the JAMA study as well as discuss realistic – and effective – ways to deal with the nursing shortage. Please call me to arrange interviews about the "nurses of the future."


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