Higher Nurse-to-Patient Ratios Improves the Quality of Care Essay

2236 Words 9 Pages
The economic impact on healthcare has taken its toll on the reduced number of registered nurses providing direct bedside care to patients compromising patient safety and dramatically increasing the potential for negative outcomes. Studies reveal that several other factors have also played a key role concerning nursing shortages over the years, such as healthcare organizations downsizing, reduced reimbursements, increased workloads, inadequate staffing plans and job dissatisfaction. Currently, mandated minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios have been implemented in several states with many more trying to pass some type of legislation (Chapman et al.331). In other states hospitals opted to form safe staffing committees that include the …show more content…
To make matters worse, an aging workforce is contributing to the nursing shortages, with hundreds of thousands of nurses over the age of fifty, and forty-seven being the average nurse’s age in the United States (Gordon, Buchanan, and Bretherton 76). According to Suzanne Gordon, whether young or old, nurses are disillusioned because they believe that health care systems guided by bottom-line concerns simply don’t recognize the specificity of their work (234). Nursing is more demanding than many other professions or occupations, as a result of the combination of sicker patients, exhausting schedules and arduous physical work (Gordon 235). It can take a significant emotional toll on many, hence the higher levels of depression and stress-related illnesses (Gordon, Buchanan, and Bretherton 190). Higher workloads not only were related to burnout, but also impacted both the nurses’ and the patients’ safety (Gordon, Buchanan, and Bretherton 191).
Job dissatisfaction as a result of insurmountable workloads and unreasonable demands, such as inappropriate nurse staffing levels, was cited as the number one reason that drove many experienced nurses to leave the profession (Sanford 38). The results of a 2006 survey of nurses who held the same job between 2003 and 2006, concluded that the three most frequently reported reasons of workload increase were: additional administrative responsibilities,
Open Document