- Paper Report
- Open Access
MRSA spread in the ICU is related to nursing workload
- Adrian Steele
© Current Science Ltd 2000
- Published: 14 January 2000
- Intensive care
- nosocomial infection
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major infection problem in the intensive care unit (ICU) and may be related to nursing staff workload.
To investigate the relationship between nursing staff workload and MRSA outbreaks in the ICU.
New cases of MRSA in a teaching hospital ICU were identified retrospectively. Various indices of nurse staffing level versus patient dependency were calculated for each day. Actual MRSA cases and potential MRSA transmission were calculated for each day. A potential MRSA transmission was defined as a patient who subsequently became MRSA positive provided there was another patient who was already MRSA positive (or who would become so) on the unit that day. Pearson's coefficient of correlation was calculated for the number of MRSA cases on the ward, and for the number of possible transmissions versus all indices of nursing staff level.
There were weak (all less than 0.2) but statistically significant correlations for both actual MRSA cases and potential transmissions, with several indices of nurse staffing level.
There is a dearth of published work on the role of staffing numbers in cross infection. An inadequate number of nursing staff contributes to the spread of nosocomial infection in ICUs.