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Aiken Receives Honorary Fellowship

The honor reflects Aiken’s pioneering research in the field of nursing care and safe staffing. She developed the “RN4CAST” project, a study examining how organizational features of hospital care impact on nurse recruitment, retention and patient outcomes. The project is the largest study of its kind, examining nursing care practices in the United States, Europe, Asia, South Africa, Australia and Chile. 

This large-scale study has produced remarkable evidence of the importance of a smaller patient to nurse ratio in improving patient outcomes. Aiken documented that 30-day mortality after common surgical procedures increased by seven percent for each additional patient added to a nurse’s workload. The study also concluded that patients in hospitals with higher proportions of nurses with bachelor’s degrees have better patient outcomes including lower risk adjusted mortality.

“I am very proud to receive this Honorary Fellowship from the RCSI Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery. Nurses save lives and money if available in sufficient numbers. Our research demonstrates the value of safe nurse staffing levels and supportive clinical work environments in hospitals, and particularly for achieving excellent outcomes for surgical patients,” said Aiken.

“We are delighted to present Dr. Aiken with this Honorary Fellowship. Professor Aiken’s pioneering research in the field of nursing care and improving nurse work environments is an extremely valuable contribution to the sector, said Theresa Frawley, PhD, Dean of the RCSI Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery. “Her findings are particularly pertinent in Ireland, where current hospital work environments present significant challenges for our nurses and midwives, and where nurse-to-patient ratios are stretched beyond what is considered quality care.”

The conferring took place during a ceremony on February 27, 2019 to open the 38th Annual International Nursing and Midwifery Research and Education Conference, which takes place at RCSI. The conference is the oldest of its type in Europe. More than 200 nurses and midwives attended the conference, which invites leaders in nursing and midwifery from across the world to participate in panel discussions exploring current healthcare challenges.