Nurse Patient Ratio

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The Push for Mandatory Nurse Patient Ratios Continues
Mandatory nurse-patient staffing ratios have been a hot topic of discussion for over 15 years. As of today, California is the only state with actual state mandated nurse- patient ratios in place. I support mandatory nurse-patient staffing ratios because research has shown that patients have better outcomes when cared for by nurses who practice under state mandated nurse-patient ratios. According to the article Mandatory Nurse-Patient Ratios “support for mandatory-patient ratios is drawn from the belief that regulated nurse (RN) staffing will increase positive patient outcomes, decrease nursing shortages, increase nurse recruitment and job satisfaction (T, 2011).
One of the leading factors
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The article Nurse-Patient Staffing Ratios in the American Journal of Nursing reported a seven percent increase in mortality for each additional patient added to a hospital nurses workload (Wallis, 2013, p. 21). When caring for a larger number of patients you are more likely to miss important signs and symptoms. It’s difficult to be thorough because there is not enough time to properly assess each patient. When patients aren’t properly assessed it’s easy to fail to notice the early warning signs that a patient may be starting to go downhill. So, instead of noticing a slight change and reacting to it, the nurse caring for a large patient load may not realize there is problem until the patient has already coded or is about to code. Wallis found that “besides the occupational hazards caused by understaffing numerous studies show a correlation between inadequate nurse staffing and poor patient outcomes. High nurse to patient ratios are associated with an increase in medical errors, as well as patient infections, bedsores, pneumonia, MRSA, cardiac arrest, and accidental death” (Wallis, 2013, p. 21). As the charge nurse on my unit I was involved in codes that should have never taken place on the floor. The nurse’s lack of attention to the patient because of high nurse patient ratios resulted in the patient coding on the unit. It was hospital policy that each code that happened on the floor be thoroughly reviewed. In some cases it was determined that the patient should have been moved to Intermediate care or ICU as much as 24 hours earlier. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “examined the relationship between mortality and day to day, shift to shift variations in unit level staffing. The study found that the risk of death increased two percent each time a patient was exposed to shifts with below target RN staffing (Dorning,

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