The Effectiveness of Standards and Regulations for Nurses: Evidence from Research

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The Effectiveness of Standards and Regulations for Nurses: Evidence from Research Question 1 One particular study that aimed at determining the efficacy and the advisability of staffing standards that were first mandated by national regulations and then (in sixteen states) more stringent state regulations found that increases in staffing after the passage of state regulations tended to be minimal, but effects for patients were quite substantial (Park & Stearns, 2009). Even though hospitals did not tend to increase staffing significantly in light of new standards, restraint use dropped dramatically, and the total number of deficiencies at the hospitals examined also fell (Park & Stearns, 2009). This clearly seems to signal that staffing standards achieve direct quality improvement gains, even if they are not strictly adhered to. This study did not directly focus on leadership, however it notes that there were concurrent quality improvement plans implemented at many facilities alongside staffing level increases (Park & Stearns, 2009). Such sweeping changes tend to be the result of proactive and mindful leadership, and could be a sign of transformational leadership at such institutions. Because of the observed increase in quality and performance at these institutions, it would seem fairly reasonable to conclude that leadership was affecting nursing staff and the organization as a whole in a positive manner, though again this was not directly observed in the research

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