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By Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, FRCN, FAAN, Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, and Douglas M. Sloane, PhD - page 4 / 10





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Years of Nursing Experience in the Two Groups of Hospitals

ANCC magnet hospitals


Original magnet hospitals


Years of experience





In nursing

At current hospital

In current unit

T-test statistics for mean differences were 3.0 (p + 0.002), 5.2 (p < 0.001), and 3.4 (p < 0.001) for years in nursing, at current hospital, and in current unit, respectively. Standard errors associated with estimated means are between 0.2 years and 0.3 years.

  • occupational exposures to blood14

  • demographic and educational characteristics20

The results presented below are from analyses of the nurse survey data alone and reflect our belief that by querying nurses much can be learned about hospitals—how they are organized and how their organization affects nurses and, ultimately, patients. All of the variables we report, except one—relations between nurses and physicians—differed signifi- cantly across the nurses’ surveys in the two groups we compared.

RESULTS Nurses’ education and experience. Generally, both groups of magnet hospitals had a registered nurse workforce with significantly higher educational preparation than nonmagnet hospitals had. Approximately 34% of nurses working in the nation’s hospitals have a baccalaureate degree as their highest level of education,21 whereas over 50% of nurses in both groups of magnet hospitals were prepared at the baccalaureate level. In comparing nurses’ education across the two groups of magnet hospitals, the percentage of nurses with baccalaure- ate degrees was significantly higher in ANCC mag- net hospitals (see Nurses’ Levels of Education in the Two Groups of Hospitals, page 28). However, nurses practicing in ANCC magnet hospitals had significantly less nursing experience, fewer years of employment at their current institutions, and fewer years assigned in their current units than did nurses in the original magnet hospitals (see Years of Nursing Experience in the Two Groups of Hospitals, above). On average, nurses in ANCC magnet hospitals had worked in nursing and at their current hospitals for about one and a half years less

than had nurses in the original magnet hospitals. Similarly, nurses in ANCC hospitals had worked on their current units for about one year less than had nurses in the original magnet hospitals.

Nurse staffing. Two independent data sources show that the ANCC magnet hospitals had a signifi- cantly higher ratio of registered nurses to patients than did the original magnet hospitals. Data from the 1997 Annual Hospital Survey of the American Hospital Association (AHA) were analyzed and show that ANCC magnet hospitals employed 190 full-time equivalent registered nurses per 100 patients (aver- age daily census), compared with 128 nurses per 100 patients in the original magnet hospitals. Analysis of the 1997 AHA data also reveal that the average nurse-to-patient ratio for community hospi- tals overall was lower still, at 109 registered nurses per 100 patients.22 The higher nurse-to-patient ratios obtained from analysis of AHA data are supported by reports from our survey of nurses practicing in both groups of magnet hospitals: nurses in ANCC magnet hospitals reported caring for, on average, one fewer patient per shift than did the nurses in the orig- inal magnet hospitals.

Clinical practice environment. In addition to dif- ferences in nurse staffing, nurses at ANCC and orig- inal magnet hospitals differed in their appraisals of other aspects of their practice environment.

In our study, we found that some of the same types of differences in the questionnaire’s subscales exist between the ANCC magnet hospitals and the original magnet hospitals that, in earlier research, we found to exist between original magnet hospitals and nonmagnet hospitals. In previous studies, we characterized the practice environment of hospitals by creating three subscales using items from the


JONA • Vol. 39, No. 7/8 • July/August Supplement 2009

Copyright @ 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.

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