November 07, 2011
Mandated nurse-to-patient ratios are a controversial topic in healthcare. In this practice, state laws are established that require a certain level of staffing within a particular unit. Organizations such as hospitals must balance income with expenditures, and nurses and patients may be affected by these decisions. Mandating ratios is one attempt at ensuring nurses’ workloads do not exceed what is needed for adequate patient care. However, these ratios are not without consequences. This paper explores both sides of the issue, presenting arguments in support of and opposed to mandated ratios. Throughout this paper you will see the pros and cons of nurse to patient ratio and at the end you should be able to make a personal and educated decision for this very important topic that will affect you or someone you know at some point in your life.
As Ms. Smith, a Registered Nurse with ten years experience in the orthopedic unit, entered the floor, she was alarmed to see that one of her coworkers had called in sick. In this 30-bed unit, the typical staff to patient ratio was 1:9 or 1:10, a ratio borne out of necessity due to funding cuts and decreases in Medicare reimbursement, as well as shortages in the pool of nurses. Ms Smith knew right then it was going to be a long stressful night because not only did she have to take care of her normal ten patients she would now have to take on about fifteen, five more than normal. Ms. Smith, after reviewing patient information, walked toward the room of her first patient on this night, an elderly gentleman recovering from a hip replacement earlier that day. Although it was after 11:00 PM, a time when most patients would be sleeping, five of her patients had received prosthetic joints that day and required additional care, particularly related to pain management. While talking with the first patient, Ms. Smith... [continues]
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(2011, 11). Nurse to Patient Ratio. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 11, 2011, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Nurse-To-Patient-Ratio-831634.html
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