Sobering Report on the Heels of National Nurses’ Week: 40 Percent of Hospitals Fail to Meet National Nursing Workforce Standard

May 13, 2015

The majority of workers in American hospitals are nurses and they are key to quality care, but hospitals can do more to support them, according to a report released today by nonprofit hospital watchdog The Leapfrog Group.  The results, as analyzed by Castlight Health, determined that while hospitals are making improvements, more progress is needed to attain Leapfrog’s standard for nursing, which is based on the National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed safe practices on nursing workforce. According to the report, 40 percent of hospitals reporting to the Leapfrog Hospital Survey did not comply with all of the 21 endorsed safe practices related to nursing workforce.

“Anyone who has ever been a patient in a hospital knows how critical the nurses are to health and life.”

“Anyone who has ever been a patient in a hospital knows how critical the nurses are to health and life,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, “Employers and other purchasers that are part of Leapfrog’s movement appreciate the hospitals that voluntarily report this data to us—and then make a commitment to improve.”

“This report gives us an understanding of what hospitals are doing to make their nursing staff and leadership the best they can be, such as having an adequately resourced nurse staffing plan, embedding experienced nurses into senior management teams, and funding the maintenance of professional knowledge and skills,” said Dr. Jennifer Schneider, M.D., M.S., chief medical officer for Castlight Health.

The safe practices require that all nursing staff services and leadership are able to provide adequate and safe care. To attain this standard, hospitals must either comply with the 21 Leapfrog nursing workforce safe practices or, alternatively, achieve Magnet Status® recognition from the American Nursing Credentials Center, which recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Leapfrog is the only hospital rating provider that tracks and rewards Magnet Status®.

Leapfrog’s nursing standard report is intended to focus attention on improving health care quality. Nurses represent the largest group of health care professionals, with nearly 58 percent employed by hospitals. Despite this, little data besides that from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey is available on the status of the nursing workforce in hospitals. Because of the direct link between nursing and high-quality care, improvement of nursing workforce safe practices is needed in order to provide patients with the best, safest care.


Key report findings include:

  • The percentage of hospitals that achieved full compliance on the nursing workforce safe practice grew from 52 percent in 2013 to 60 percent in 2014. Despite this increase, two in five reporting hospitals did not fully meet Leapfrog standards.
  • Leapfrog-reporting hospitals achieving Magnet Status increased from 15.5 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2014.

To view the complete report on nursing best practices, click here

Today’s report is the fourth in a series of six reports examining key quality and safety measures at hospitals nationwide, based on data taken from the 2014 Leapfrog Hospital Survey of 1,501 U.S. hospitals and analyzed by Castlight Health. The initial reports on maternity care, high-risk procedures, and computerized physician order entry (CPOE), as well as future publications in the report series, are also available.


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