Nurse Patient Staffing Ratios And Quality Of Patient Care

880 WordsJan 11, 20154 Pages
Nurse-Patient staffing ratios have created debate among health care professionals for years. Who determines where, when and how many patients a nurse can handle on any given shift? Who determines the acuity of the patients handled by the nurse? Does the floor nurse have a say in what she or he can feasibly handle during their shift? At what point does patient care begin to suffer? These questions and many others have led to federal and state legislation coming to light to better serve the care of a patient. “The varied agendas and the inability of nurses, hospital administrators, and financial experts to communicate toward a single purpose, as well as the complexity of meeting staffing needs, have moved the issue into the political arena (Hertel, 2012, p. 1)”. Several states have already instituted mandatory nurse-patient ratios. While you can debate for or against political involvement, I will look at many factors regarding care and safety of patients. There is a strong relationship between higher nursing ratios and quality of patient care. Safety of the patient is at the forefront of this debate. Higher ratios can be associated with fewer patients, creating an increase of patient hours for the registered nurse. Longer time spent with each patient can translate into fewer potential or real problems being overlooked due to not enough time spent assessing the patient. “74% of California staff nurses thought the quality of care had improved as a result of the
Open Document