Nurse to patient staffing ratios
I read an article published in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing about staffing ratio’s. The article pointed out that the nurse to patient ratios are high because the hospital doesn’t get additional reimbursement based on the individual acuity of the patient. Since the hospitals already have to keep a set standard of nurses they have lowered the number of unlicensed personnel and housekeeping staff to offset the cost (Welton, 2007). This practice doesn’t solve the real issue that the ratios present such as safety, it simply reduces the cost to the hospital while putting a greater workload on the nurse.
The article explained that the nursing needs are even higher because of the shorter hospital stays. Since patients are being treated while acutely ill and then being discharged as quickly as possible, the nurse is taking care of sicker patients with a faster turn over than ever before. The article suggested passing legislation to provide nursing intensity billing (Welton, 2007). This type of billing would put an end to the “room and board” billing that includes everything from electricity and personal care items to nursing under one charge.
I honestly can’t believe that nurses are lumped into the same charge as shampoo. If we had billing codes dependent on the type of care our patients required we would be seen as a source of revenue rather than a cost to the hospital. This would mean greater autonomy and better working conditions for nurses and greater quality of care to the patients! Reference
Welton, J. (2007). Mandatory hospital nurse to patient staffing ratios: Time to take a different approach. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 12-2007(3), Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume122007/No3Sept07/MandatoryNursetoPatientRatios.aspx
Please join StudyMode to read the full document