Hospital Employment of Supplemental Registered Nurses and Patients’ Satisfaction With Care

In the Journal of Nursing Administration, Linda Aiken and Penn colleagues from the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR) examine whether the use of supplemental registered nurses (SRNs), temporary nurses often used by hospitals to alleviate staffing shortages, has an impact on overall patient satisfaction. Using survey data from nurses and patients, they found little evidence that temporary nurses affect patient satisfaction with the hospital or with nursing care in particular. After other hospital and nursing characteristics were controlled, greater use of SRNs was not associated with patients’ global satisfaction, including whether they would rank their hospital highly or recommend their hospital, nor was it associated with nurse communication, medication explanation, or pain control. This study adds to a growing research base suggesting that the use of SRNs is safe and satisfactory to patients and offers hospitals a reasonable strategy for ensuring that adequate nurse staffing is available to hospitalized patients at all times.