Using Computer Simulation to Study Nurse-to-Patient Ratios in an Emergency Department

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To study the impact of nurse-to-patient ratios on patient length of stay (LOS) in computer simulations of emergency department (ED) care.


Multiple 24-hour computer simulations of emergency care were used to evaluate the impact of different minimum nurse-to-patient ratios related to ED LOS, which is composed of wait (arrival to bed placement) and bedtime (bed placement to leave bed).


Increasing the number of patients per nurse resulted in increased ED LOS. Mean bedtimes in minutes were impacted by nurse-to-patient ratios.


In computer simulation of ED care, increasing the number of patients per nurse resulted in increasing delays in care (ie, increasing bedtime).

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