Ratios findings published in the BMJ

Published: 2 October 2020

International research highlighting the significant benefits of Queensland’s nurse-to-patient ratios legislation has been published in the British Medical Journal  (BMJ). 

While the QNMU previously reported some of the key findings from this research when it was released in 2019, this marks the first time it has been published by a major medical journal. 

Key findings published in the BMJ include:

  • Medical-surgical nurse-to-patient ratios varied significantly prior to ratios legislation.
  • Each additional patient per nurse was associated with:
    • 12% higher odds of 30-day mortality
    • 15% higher odds of emotional exhaustion
    • 14% higher odds of job dissatisfaction

Significantly, the research concludes that “taking action to improve staffing levels was prudent”.

In other words, nurses and midwives’ continued calls for legislated minimum ratios across all sectors are justified – and we’ve got the evidence to back it up. 

The research, which focuses on the baseline nurse survey conducted between May and June 2016 in which 4372 medical-surgical public sector nurses took part, was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), Queensland University of Technology, and Queensland Health.

Our campaign continues

Queensland’s nurses and midwives are currently campaigning for legislated ratios to be extended to the rest of the public sector, as well as in private hospitals and aged care facilities.

The research published in the BMJ is part of a larger research piece that was undertaken by UPenn, QUT and Queensland Health between 2016 and 2019 (from pre- to post-ratios implementation). 

Findings from that research concluded that legislated ratios resulted in:

  • 145 deaths avoided
  • 255 readmissions avoided
  • 29,200 hospital days avoided
  • Up to $81 million saved  

Read more about our campaign at www.RatiosSaveLives.com.au