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12 Hour Staffing Ratio

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The author of this journal was asked a very serious and relatable question to many nurses, “You just completed a 12 hour night shift and the day staffing ratio went from 6:1 to 14:1, what will you do in reference to staying or going and why?” Regardless if a nurse is fatigued or a unit is short staffed, there are many issues that may occur in the workplace that could jeopardize the quality of care for a patient. That said, this journal will primarily be focusing on patient safety. Factors that are detrimental to patient safety, while maintaining relevance to the asked question, are sleep deprivation and inadequate staffing of nurses.

Many have felt the effects of sleep deprivation and how it may affect one physically and mentally. For a nurse, when exhaustion sets in due to working long hours or inadequate sleep cognitive and physical functions begin to decrease resulting in poor critical thinking and clinical judgment. There may be circumstances, such as staffing shortages, which
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The Texas Nurses Association suggests that the following be considered by a nurse or nurses questioning an assignment: “1. Clarify the assignment: be certain about what it is you are being asked to do 2. Assess the characteristics of the patients being assigned and the resources available 3. Consider the geography of the assignment, the duration of the assignment, and personal competency to manage the patient assignment” (as cited in Zolnierek,
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