Mandated minimum staff rations
In the past several years, there has been a growing need for more registered nurses in hospitals due to rising acuity of patients. The safety and quality of patient care is directly related to the size and experience of the nursing workforce. Nursing working conditions have deteriorated in some facilities because hospitals have not kept up with the rising demand for nurses. Legislatures, health care providers, and the public are demanding adequate staffing ratios for nurses, particularly RN’s to patients in an acute care setting (Huston, 2010, p.165). These measures assign some minimum level of staffing that all hospitals must meet regardless of the types and severity of patients. A study was done that included over 10,000 nurses and over 230,000 patients in 168 hospitals; the study showed hospitals with a higher patient to nurse ratio had a higher percentage of surgical patients dying in the 30 days of admission (Huston, 2010, p.167). This study suggest that having an inadequate number of RN’s in the acute care setting places the public at risk for complications and even death.
I am writing this topic because I believe that patient to nurse ratio should represent the acuity level and not the number. As a nurse, I have worked in facilities that designate patient care according to the number of patients and not the acuity. The nurses are overwhelmed because some are assigned 6 high acuity patients. When the acuity level is not considered, the patients are put at a higher rate for complications. Greenberg argued that the implementation of staffing ratios improves nurse satisfaction and eventually retention (Huston, 2010, p.169). Who wouldn’t want to go to work to a full nursing staff? The mandated minimum staff ratio would prevent nurses from working short by pulling resources from somewhere else or use contracted nurses. The end result will be patient satisfaction and happy nurses.
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