An Integrative Literature Review of Patient Turnover in Inpatient Hospital Settings

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Abstract

High patient turnover can result in fragmentation of nursing care. It can also increase nursing workload and thus impede the ability of nurses to provide safe and high-quality care. We reviewed 20 studies that examined patient turnover in relation to nursing workload, staffing, and patient outcomes as well as interventions in inpatient hospital settings. The studies consistently addressed the importance of accounting for patient turnover when estimating nurse staffing needs. They also showed that patient turnover varied by time, day, and unit type. Researchers found that higher patient turnover was associated with adverse events; however, further research on this topic is needed because evidence on the effect of patient turnover on patient outcomes is not yet strong and conclusive. We suggest that researchers and administrators need to pay more attention to patterns and levels of patient turnover and implement managerial strategies to reduce nursing workload and improve patient outcomes.

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