Insufficient staffing levels for nurses can lead to an increase in hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), according to research from the Columbia University School of Nursing.

Researchers studied data collected at a large urban hospital system between 2007 and 2012. Using a Cox proportional-hazards regression model, investigators looked at the association between nurse staff levels (two days before the onset of HAI) and potential outbreaks.

“Fifteen percent of patient-days had one shift understaffed, defined as staffing below 80% of the unit median for a shift, and 6.2% had both day and night shifts understaffed,” the researchers found. “Patients on units with both shifts understaffed were significantly more likely to develop HAIs two days later.”

To view an abstract of the report and to learn more information about what researchers discovered during their investigation, please visit: