Introduction According to the General Laws of Massachusetts (MGL) Chapter 155, An Act relative to patient limits in all hospital intensive care units was approved (and signed by the Massachusetts Governor) on June 30, 2014. This act states that in all intensive care units, the ratio for registered nurse to client will be 1:1 or 1:2 depending on the client’s acuity, as assessed by an acuity tool and under the discretion of nurses within that unit (MGL, 2014). The acuity tool must be developed by each hospital in accordance with the staff nurses or other respective medical staff and certified by the department (MGL, 2014) In previous years safe staffing has been a concern in Massachusetts hospitals. In a survey conducted by the…show more content… As a member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, using evidence from variety of sources, I will discuss the effect and need of mandated nurse staffing. In particular, how staffing pertains to patient outcomes.
Background Extensive research has shown that there is a correlation between staffing and patient ratio and patient outcomes. Better outcomes particularly are shown with lower patient to nurse ratio. However staffing issues remain an ongoing concern which greatly impacts the safety of the nurse and their patients, and also impacts cost of healthcare. Evidence shows that adequate staffing causes reduction in mortality, nurse burnout and job satisfaction, and reduction in medical errors. A study by Aiken and colleagues which included 10184 nurses and 232342 surgical patients amongst 168 hospital in Pennsylvania, sought to examine the association between nurse and patient ratio, and poor patient outcomes such as morality and failure-to-rescue (Aiken, Clarke, Sloane, Sochalski, & Silber, 2002). With a cross-sectional analysis of linked data, it concluded that hospitals with a higher patient-nurse ratio correlated with higher risk-adjusted 30-day mortality and increased the odds of failure to rescue. (Aiken et al,. 2002) Nurses with highest patient assignments were also more than twice as likely to experience job-related burnout and job dissatisfaction compared with hospitals that had the lowest nurse-patient ratios. (Aiken et