The result of that digging is research data that's the first to link clinical nursing experience with pediatric patient outcomes. Hickey's study, published in the December 2013 issue of Journal of Nursing Administration, shows that it's not just the number of nurses that's important: Their experience and education matters a lot, too.
The study aimed to determine which pediatric critical care nursing and organizational factors impact in-hospital mortality for cardiac surgery patients across the United States.
Nurse leaders from 38 children's hospitals that contribute data to the Pediatric Health Information System data set completed an organizational assessment for years 2009 and 2010. These data were linked with patient-level data. The study found that:
"Nursing experience and education does matter in pediatrics," Hickey says. But she's careful to point out that she's not disparaging new grads.