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Penn Nursing > Media > California Nurse Staffing Study > Dr. Aiken's study in the news

Dr. Linda Aiken’s groundbreaking study …

Linda H. Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN is an authority on causes, consequences, and solutions for nurse shortages in the U.S. and internationally. She recently led a new study, published April 20 in the policy journal Health Services Research that provides compelling new evidence that California's landmark nurse-patient staffing law reduces patient mortality, gives nurses more time with patients and helps retain experienced RNs.

Surveying more than 22,000 RNs in California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, she and her team of researchers found:

  • NJ hospitals would have 14 percent fewer patient deaths and PA 11 percent fewer deaths if they matched CA's 1:5 ratios on surgical units.
  • RNs in CA have far more time to spend with patients, and more CA hospitals have enough RNs to provide quality patient care.
  • Fewer RNs in CA miss changes in patient conditions because of their workload than do RNs in NJ or PA.
  • In CA hospitals with better compliance with the ratios, RNs cite fewer complaints from patients and families, and the nurses have more confidence patients can manage their own care after discharge.
  • RNsin CA are far more likely to stay at the bedside and less likely to report burnout than nurses in 19brown.htmlNJ or PA.


... and where it’s featured in the news.


On June 18th, the New York Times theorizes how the nursing industry will change based on Dr. Linda Aiken's nurse ratio study.

On May 13th, Minnesota Public Radio quoted Dr. Aiken on how lower nurse-to-patient ratios affect the health of the patient and hospital turnover.

On May 11th, CNN featured Dr. Aiken’s study during Nurses Week, which “revealed that as hospital nurses are assigned more and more patients to care for, the number of patients who die also goes up.”

 On May 10th, the NY Times quoted Dr. Aiken as saying, “Nurses are the surveillance system right at the bedside; they are the first to see something and mobilize a rescue,”

On April 21st, the Sacramento Bee asserted Dr. Aiken’s study proves lower nurse-to-patient ratio saves lives, and deaths in other states could be reduced by 14% if they had fewer patients assigned to each nurse.

On April 21st, Hospital Management saidScientific evidence boosts the case for increasing RN staffing in hospitals and limits the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing researchers.”

 On April 21st, Advance for Nurses entitled an article, “California's Safe Staffing Law Saves Lives, Aiken-Led Study Shows”.

On April 20th, the Philadelphia Inquirer asserts, “more nurses, less death” and quoted Dr. Aiken claiming improved nurse staffing could save “many thousands a year”.

On April 20th, Nurseweek refers to Dr. Aiken’s research as a “landmark study” that will “bolster case for pending legislation to set safe patient limits in Massachusetts acute care hospitals”.

On April 20th, the Riverside Press-Enterprise claims “New study finds regulating RN staffing saves lives, improves patient outcomes, boosts RN retention and increases time for patient care.”

On April 20th, the Columbus Dispatch’s analysis of Dr. Aiken’s research is that “When nurses care for fewer patients, those patients are less likely to die in the hospital and the nurses are less likely to burn out and become dissatisfied with their jobs”.

On April 20th, the San Francisco Chronicle declares California's law limiting the number of patients that can be assigned to a nurse has resulted in fewer deaths and a belief among the state's nurses that they were able to provide better care.”

On April 20th, MSN Money claimsCalifornia hospital nurses cared for one less patient on average than nurses in the other states and two fewer patients on medical and surgical units, according to the study. They also reported more job satisfaction, less burnout and higher quality of care.