The economic impact on healthcare has taken its toll on the number of registered nurses providing bedside care to patients, compromising patient safety and dramatically increasing the potential for negative outcomes. Several factors have immensely contributed to the nursing shortages over the years, including healthcare organizations downsizing, increased workloads, inadequate staffing plans and job dissatisfaction. Mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios have been implemented in several states to date with many more trying to pass some type of legislation. Have these ratios affected the quality of care or is it more realistic to create staffing committees that are based on each unit’s unique situation and varying requirements?
Nurse-to-patient ratios is not a new topic of debate for all of us who deliver care to patients every day. Only lately it has been a big issue that have caught the attention of many. Demands by the medical community for changes concerning staffing, asking for the government interventions in minimum staffing laws. Registered nurses have long acknowledged and continue to emphasize that staffing issues are an ongoing concern, one that influences the safety of both the patient and the nurse. (ANA, 2015) .nowadays hospitals are running for profit and the emphasis is not put on job burnout, stress, and endangerment of patients. Nursing shortages is a very pertinent problem, it will be optimum to have laws in place to help with the issue, however meanwhile leadership and management methods to the matter can help to mend the nursing situation and avoid many of the damaging effects of unfitting nurse-to-patient ratios.
The purpose of this article is to discuss appropriate nurse staffing and staffing ratios and its impact on patient care. Although the issue is just not about numbers as we discuss staffing we begin to see how complex the issue has become over the years. Many factors can affect appropriate nurse staffing ratios. As we investigate nurse staffing ratios we can see the importance of finding the right mix and number of nurses to provide quality care for patients.
Current nurse-to-patient ratios is a topic that has constant focus on today’s patient outcomes and safety. There have be many studies and there continues to be studies done on how a higher nurse to patient ratio effects not only patient and nurse safety and patient outcomes once they leave the hospital, but also patient mortality rates as well. When a nurse has been assigned more of a patient load than they can safely handle, whether it be because of a large patient volume or patient acuity, patients suffer and the quality of care declines. With the higher ratio,
For over a decade researchers have been performing studies examining the effects patient-to-nurse ratios have on adverse outcomes, mortality rates, and failure-to-rescue rates of patients and on job dissatisfaction and burnout experiences of nurses. Aiken, Sloane, Sochalski, and Silber (2002) performed a study which showed that each additional patient per nurse increased patient mortality within 30 days of admission by 7% and increased failure-to-rescue by 7% as well. This same study also showed that each additional patient per nurse resulted in a 23% increase in nurse burnout and a 15% increase in job dissatisfaction. Additionally, Rafferty et al. (2007) performed a study in which the results showed that patients in hospitals with higher patient-to-nurse ratios had a 26% higher mortality rate and nurses were twice as likely to have job dissatisfaction and experience burnout. Blegen, Goode, Spetz, Vaughn, and Park (2011) performed a study where results showed that more staffing hours for nurses resulted in lower rates of congestive heart failure morality, infection, and prolonged hospital stays. The same study also showed that increased nursing care from registered nurses resulted in lower infection and failure to rescue rates and fewer cases of sepsis.
Mandatory nurse-patient ratios have been a controversial topic facing nurses for decades. Nurses, patients, physicians, nursing organizations, researchers, hospitals, federal government, and state governments have opposing views in regard to mandatory nurse-patient ratios. Those that support the idea of mandatory nurse-patient ratios believe that there would be an improvement in quality of patient care, decreased nursing shortages, increased job satisfaction, decreased client hospitalization, and increased nurse recruitment (Pamela Tevington, 2012). Groups that oppose mandatory nurse-patient ratios believe that mandatory staffing laws ignore factors such as the level of care a patient requires from a nurse, treatments, length of hospitalization, improvements and differences in technology, the expense of an increased nursing staff, and nurse experience and education (Tevington, 2012).
Primarily, it is crucial for health care organizations to focus on ensuring safe and quality patient care, as well as improved job satisfaction by enforcing an optimal and adequate nurse-to-patient ratio and creating innovative and long-term strategies through a collaborative effort. In order to ensure the safety of patients and nurses, state-mandated safe-staffing ratios are necessary. Adequate nurse staffing is key to patient care and nurse retention, while inadequate staffing puts patients at risk and drives nurses from their profession. As baby boomers age and the demand for health care services grows, staffing problems will only intensify. Consequently, safe-staffing ratios have become such an ever-pressing concern. In 2004, California became the first state to implement minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, designed to improve patient care and nurse retention. Subsequent studies show that California’s program measurably improved patient care and nurse retention.
Mandatory staffing ratios have been suggested as a way to meet nursing staffs’ concerns of high nurse to patient ratios. Mandatory staffing ratios are used as a way to reduce workload and patient mortality and are aimed at addressing the perceived imbalance between patient needs and nursing resources. (American Nursing Association, 2014). However, issues have been raised on applicability of staffing ratios since it could lead to increased costs without the guarantee of improvement in the quality of health care and could also lead to unintended consequences including unit closures, limited infrastructural development and limited access by patients (American Nursing Association, 2014).
When was the last time you were in the hospital or a loved one was in the hospital, and ever wondered where the nurse is, and they haven 't returned for hours. You finally push the assistance button several times, and they open the door and hurriedly say, “I will be right back”, then you don 't see them for a while again. When they come back to check up on you, you explain to them what you need, and then they send in a less qualified staff member to assist you. At this point, you become very annoyed and frustrated not to mention scared to be admitted in the hospital to begin with. Little do you know, your nurse has ten other patients and other non-nursing tasks that they are responsible taking care of. They have been working a double shift and are extremely exhausted, and a large stack of charts that they will have to do before their shift is over. As a patient, you now become frustrated and are not happy about this; as a nurse, they are just as frustrated as you are, not only because the amount of work they have but more importantly they can 't deliver the appropriate care they long to give. For most hospitals they do not hire enough registered nurses for reasons that are good and bad. This is an issue that needs to be addressed not only locally but nationally and on a constant basis. When there are too many patients for one registered nurse to attend to, nurses become exhausted, mistakes are made, and patients are unsatisfied. A minimum nurse to patient ratio needs to be
Mandated nurse-to-patient ratios have some flaws to work out. Mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios could increase costs with healthcare costs already hard for many to afford. Welton (2007) stated, “Mandatory ratios, if imposed nationally, may result in increased overall costs of care with no guarantees for improvement in quality or positive outcomes of hospitalization” (p1). According to Welton the cost to the hospital are not covered when these mandates are put in place, leaving the hospital to pick up the extra costs of hiring additional nurses to comply with mandates. Mandated nurse-to-patient ratios do not allow for
There is a strong correlation between adequate nurse-to-patient ratios and safe patient outcomes (Avalier Health LLC, 2015). Finding an ideal nurse to patient ratio has been a national challenge. In this article, there will be discussion of this problem and possible solutions. We will identify the parties affected most by change, possible opposition to change, steps to minimize those challenges, and ways of measuring possible outcomes of the proposed changes.
Over the past number of years there has been a nursing shortage which has led to the need of more registered nurses in the hospital setting. This is due to the uprising acuity of patient care and a decrease in there overall hospital stay. In order for the patients to get safe and quality care, the staffing, education and experience of the nursing staff needs to be made a priority. Not only has the safety and quality of patient care suffered, the working conditions in hospitals
The final bill mandates minimum, specific and numerical nurse-patient ratios in hospitals. For example, a mandated nurse patient ratio of 1:5 was set for medical surgical units and smaller ratios were assigned to specialty units (Tevington 2011). Today, California is the only state with mandated nurse-patient ratios. 14 other states have set laws and regulations addressing nurse staffing in hospitals but they all address the issue differently and have set different requirements (ANA,
Nursing is the powerhouse in the delivery of safe, quality patient-centered care in the healthcare industry. To ensure continued safety of the patient and nursing staff, the issue of inadequate staffing must be addressed. Consequently, patient’s mortality rate has been linked to the level of nursing staff utilized in ensuring an utmost outcome (Aiken, 2011). This paper will outline the issue associated with inadequate nurse to patient staffing ratios in the hospital setting; essential factors such as economic, social, ethical and political and legal affecting the issue will be established; current legislature and stakeholders will be ascertained and policy option, evaluation of bill and the results of analysis will be reviewed.
In recent years, the healthcare industry has seen a significant decline in the quality of patient care it provides. This has been the result of reduced staffing levels, overworked nurses, and an extremely high nurse to patient ratio. The importance of nurse staffing in hospital settings is an issue of great controversy. Too much staff results in costs that are too great for the facility to bear, but too little staffing results in patient care that is greatly hindered. Moreover, the shaky economy has led to widespread budget cuts; this, combined with the financial pressures associated with Medicare and private insurance companies have forced facilities to make due with fewer