Necessity of Nursing

Topics: Nursing, Health care, Healthcare occupations Pages: 5 (1476 words) Published: August 25, 2013

The Necessity of Nursing Assistants to
Improve the Quality of Patient Care

The Necessity of Nursing Assistants to
Improve the Quality of Patient Care
The quality of care received by patients is of fundamental importance to healthcare organizations. A well-documented happening that has impacted health care settings across the world is the nursing shortage (Tuttas, 2003). Due to the current nursing shortage, it is often difficult for nurses to provide all the care patients need. According to Quallich (2005), by reason of this shortage of Registered Nurse (RN) staff, there are many less-complex tasks that RNs can delegate to Nursing Assistants (NAs). This allows RNs to concentrate on more complex nursing tasks, improving the patients’ overall quality of care. Nursing Assistants fulfill an important role in today’s health care industry. Problem Analysis

The Nurse Executive of a 125-bed health care facility believes that the facility needs more NAs to improve patient care. This belief was brought on by Physical Therapists noting that many patients are not ambulating or sitting up as often as they should. Nursing Assistants are fundamental to the daily routine in all healthcare facilities, and therefore an increase in their numbers would aid in solving this dilemma (Quallich, 2005). According to the American Nurses Association, delegation of tasks must be based on the state’s nurse practice act, as well as the individual skills of the person that the task is being delegated. The current situation of needing additional caregivers to aid in patients ambulating and sitting up would be an optimal opportunity to employ NAs to assist with this less complex task (Quallich, 2005). Additionally, because Medicare and Medicaid payments are declining, employing NAs to assist patients is a cost-effective way to provide quality care. There is a significant cost savings in employing NAs, rather than hiring additional RNs, or Physical Therapists. The average Nurse Assistant salary ranges from $21,620 to $24,260, while RNs and Physical Therapists salary ranges from $49,600 to $59,521 (Quallich, 2005). Higher acuity and rehabilitative needs of patients, along with increased life expectancy and the amount of people older that 65, establishes an obvious demand for NAs. This demand will only increase as the baby boomers reach the age of 65 (Pennington, Congdon, & Magilvy, 2007). According to Weitzel, Robinson, Henderson, & Anderson (2005), elders are prone to experience an overall functional decline in activities of daily living. The current problem being a need for additional staff to assist with patients requiring ambulation and sitting up must be addressed. Inability to provide quality care results in increased length of stay, as well as increased discharges to nursing homes (Weitzel, et al., 2005) When adequately trained, educated, and appropriately supervised, lower paid, non-professional staff can greatly relieve the burden on Physical Therapists and RNs. This allows RNs and Physical Therapists to adequately provide patient care requiring their professional level of skill and education (Tuttas, 2003). As a consequence of this current situation an efficient and effective plan must be brought into action. Strategies

A possible strategy to immediately manage this current patient care situation on an interim basis until a permanent plan can be implemented would be to redistribute the workload of the NAs currently working. Currently the average NA spends most of their time changing linens and bathing. Giving approximately eight to ten baths and changing linens each day leaves little time for assisting patient with activities of daily living, specifically sitting up and ambulating. This writer suggests giving patients a bath and changing linens every other day, unless soiled. Partial baths are to be given on the off days. All patients will receive daily face, hand, and...

References: Pennington, K., Congdon, J., & Magilvy, J. (2007). Second-career CNAs in nursing homes. Journal of Gerontological Nursing , 33 (6), 21-28, 30-31.
Quallich, S. A. (2005). Medical assistants: The future nurses? Urologic Nursing , 25 (5), 389-391.
Tuttas, C. A. (2003). Decreasing nurse staffing cost in a hospital setting. Development and support of core staff capability. Journal of Nursing Care Quality , 18 (3), 226-240.
Weitzel, T., Robinson, S., Henderson, L., & Anderson, K. (2005). Helping hands: CNAs in elder care. Nurseing Management , 36 (4), 41-44, 46.
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