Politics, Legislation, and Implications to Patient Care

2276 Words Jun 10th, 2012 10 Pages
Politics, Legislation, and Implications to Patient Care

Abstract
There are constant changes to laws and legislation regarding patient care and safety. The purpose of this report is to inform the reader of recent and upcoming changes to legislation that may affect nursing care of patients. Research by L. Aiken, et al. and A. Tourangeau, support the need for higher education of registered nurses. Their research proves that patient outcomes are improved when registered nurses carry a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Research conducted by J. Needleman, et al., concluded that reducing the nurse-patient ratio resulted in the patient being at less risk for developing hospital-acquired illnesses as well as a reduced risk of inpatient
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The average patient in the study was exposed to three nursing shifts with below target staffing resulting in a 6% higher risk of mortality than patients with no exposure to below target staffing.”
The report further explained that the risk of death did not decrease when the ratio of certified nursing assistants and licensed vocational/practical nurses increased. This further indicates that assessment information that is collected and analyzed by registered nurses is essential to improved patient outcomes. This evidence only further supports the notion that nurse-patient ratios result in better patient outcomes and is essential to helping to reduce hospital-acquired illnesses and patient mortality.
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA. 2011), there are only 15 states that currently have regulations regarding nurse-patient ratios. California is the only state with legislation mandating a nurse-patient ratio. California’s nurse-patient ratio is 1:5 and was signed into law in 1999 and was in full effect as of 2005. With mounting evidence supporting the need for regulated nurse-patient rations, in 2011 the ANA reintroduced the Nurse Safe Staffing Act for federal legislation. If put into effect, the ratios would take into consideration not only the acuity level of the patients but also
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