MAY, 2017
Edie Brous
Nurse Attorney
118 East 28th Street
Room 404
New York, NY 10016
Tel. (212) 989-5469
Fax. (646) 349-5355
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E=mc2 or SS=PM&M
I have been watching the Genius series about Albert Einstein.  His famous E=mc2 Newtonian mechanics statement is familiar to most people even if we don’t understand the actual physics behind it.  E=mc2 means energy mass times the speed of light squared, which all nurses understand from their studies of relativity to mean that the increased relativistic mass of a body times the speed of light squared is equal to the kinetic energy of that body. If for some mysterious reason your nursing school didn’t cover dimensional analysis, quantitative inertia measurement, quantum mechanics, or particle physics & smashing photons, wikiHow provides a simplified explanation:

Although my father was a mathematician, I would not try to understand nuclear physics or mechanical engineering any more than I would try to understand why health care organizations think they can provide patient care without patient care providers. Sick and injured people require skilled and experienced nurses to recognize clinical status changes, complications of therapy, or worrisome situations.  They need professional nurses to identify early signs of deterioration and intervene in a timely fashion. Unlike what we see on television where the doctors miraculously parachute in to rescue patients in trouble, in the real world it is the nurses who are the first responders. 
You can’t run a restaurant without servers; you can’t run a post office without mail carriers; and you can’t run a hospital, long-term care facility, or any other health care organization without professional, experienced nurses. When there are enough nurses to care for the patients in a facility, patients are less likely to die.  They are less likely to have complications, less likely to fall, less likely to develop pressure ulcers, less likely to suffer pneumonia, GI bleeding, UTIs and other infections, less likely to suffer cardiac arrest or shock, less likely to be readmitted after discharge, and less likely to suffer medication errors.  Most importantly, they are more likely to survive.
Short staffing creates job dissatisfaction and accelerates nursing turnover, further reducing the workforce skill level by leaving less experienced providers at the bedside. Short staffing undermines unit cohesion, increases medical costs, and leads to more nursing injuries.
Einstein theorists & physicists aren’t the only ones with complicated research. Nursing also has complex equations looking at nurse/patient ratios and patient outcomes.  Our studies use also use intensive statistical calculations, multi-method research design, rigorous metrics, and  longitudinal analysis.  The research has been there for decades.  The information is readily available. For any administrators or managers who find the material confusing, I have simplified it for you.  Here is the equation you should be able to understand:
[short staffing = patient morbidity and mortality]
Read some of the material yourself before you make decisions to reduce staffing patterns. Please.  Our lives depend on it.
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Copyright © 2017, Edie Brous, RN, Esq.