Hospital staffing and health care-associated infections: A systematic review of the literature

Patricia W. Stone, Monika Pogorzelska, Laureen Kunches, Lisa R. Hirschhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


In the past 10 years, many researchers have examined relationships between hospital staffing and patients' risk of health care-associated infection (HAI). To gain understanding of this evidence base, a systematic review was conducted, and 42 articles were audited. The most common infection studied was bloodstream infection (n = 18; 43%). The majority of researchers examined nurse staffing (n = 38; 90%); of these, only 7 (18%) did not find a statistically significant association between nurse staffing variable(s) and HAI rates. Use of nonpermanent staff was associated with increased rates of HAI in 4 studies (P < .05). Three studies addressed infection control professional staffing with mixed results. Physician staffing was not found to be associated with patients' HAI risk (n = 2). The methods employed and operational definitions used for both staffing and HAI varied; despite this variability, trends were apparent. Research characterizing effective staffing for infection control departments is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-944
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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