Nurse staffing and outcomes for pulmonary lobectomy: Cost and mortality trade-offs

Hannah I. Ross, Maureen C. Jones, Brandon S. Hendriksen, Christopher S. Hollenbeak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Nurse staffing impacts patient outcomes, but little is known about the relationship between nurse staffing and outcomes for lung cancer patients undergoing pulmonary lobectomy. Objectives: To examine the association between nurse staffing and outcomes following lobectomy for lung cancer. Methods: Patients (N = 16,994) with lung cancer between who underwent lobectomy between 2008–2011 were identified in the National Inpatient Sample. Nurse staffing was quantified using registered nurse full-time equivalents per adjusted patient days. Multivariable models were used to estimate the effect of RN FTEs on mortality, length of stay, and costs, controlling for covariates. Results: Patients treated at hospitals using 5.6 or more RN FTEs had shorter hospitals stays by 0.37 days (p = 0.008), had 36% lower odds of mortality (OR = 0.64, p = 0.014), but incurred $4,388 (p < 0.0001) in additional costs. Conclusions: Hospital administrators face a troubling trade-off between costs and outcomes in decisions about nurse staffing mix for pulmonary lobectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-212
Number of pages7
JournalHeart and Lung
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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