Safe Nurse Staffing, Patient safety, and the Never Ending Struggle of the Two. Davey Scher
Patient safety and their outcomes are issues that are integral to nurses, and nursing care. The general well being of patients and their safety are always the most important aspects of what nurses do. Throughout the history of this noble profession nurses have strived to provide exemplary care that encapsulates both the scientific and holistic aspects that make nursing the unique profession that it is. This core value of patient advocacy for safety, care, and wellbeing has not changed over the years. Despite advances in technology, the changing dynamic of the healthcare delivery system its core principles are the same. What has changed is the way in which nurses and society have obtained the necessary resources for patient care, and utilizing them in an effective manner. In order to effectively treat patients in the manner that is safest and most conducive to patient improvement, nurses must be staffed appropriately in all parts of the nursing care, whether it be in critical care flloors, ICUs, or nursing and rehabilitation units.
The issue of nurse staffing and safe nurse patient ratio is not a new one. In the earlier years of nursing, nurse patient ratios would be upwards of 12 patients. Through legislation, education, and advocacy, ratios have gone down, but there are still many floors that see nurses taking care of as many as 68 patients at any given time. As an emergency department nurse I have on several occasions taken care of as many as 7 patients at one time. The issue of patient to nurse ratio, and adequate nurse staffing is one that affects many aspect of the healthcare system. The nurse caring for the patients, the patient themselves and receipt of treatment and care, the nurse managers and ability to adequately staff their floors and departments, and lastly the nursing supervisors and CEOs who dispense the necessary resources that must allocated in order to ensure an attain staffing needs. Nurse staffing is not only a key issue for nurses individually, or hospitals, it is a nationwide matter that is being promoted to the forefront of debate by the American Nursing Association (ANA). Utilizing research from the bedside annually, the ANA explains that there is a noticeable relationship
between adequate nursetopatient ratios and safe patient outcomes (Wyoming Nurse Association, 2014). Likewise this issue is not alone in the US, Canada, Australia, and many european countries, nurse researchers, educators, and hospitals are seeing that quality patient care, reduction of readmission, and diminished comorbities and patient injuries are related to efficient staffing (Anzai, Douglas & Bonner, 2014).
It is essential to remember that nursing has a priority in promoting quality care, and patient safety. Florence Nightingale herself explained in 1860 that nursing is utilizing the environment of the
patient to assist him in his recovery (Nightingale, 1860). This aspect of nursing has not changed, however the demands have changed, the dynamic and setting of nursing has changed as well. Patients are older, sicker, have many more comorbidities than before, and the implementation of technology into the healthcare workforce has only made nursing a more technologically advanced profession that requires keen insight to multifaceted skills. All of these issues only makes it that much easier for patient safety issues to arise. If a nurse is strapped with several sick patients, and no one is able to get to patients in time, then something can happen. if patients are sick, but appear fine, and the nurse is busy with another critically ill patient, a patient can begin to compromise on their health, and lifethreatening ...
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Notes on Nursing
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