The Responsibilities Of A Nurse Patient Ratio

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INTRODUCTION The responsibilities set on nurses has skyrocketed since the profession began in 1854 and little has been done to balance out these increasing demands with its consequences (University of Pennsylvania). Of particular concern is the nurse-patient ratio and although minute, some states have and are considering whether to mandate the ratio or not. To best cope with the increasing demands, nurse-patient ratios in hospitals should be mandated by the state government in order to improve the quality of patient care, reduce patient readmission costs spent by the hospital, and improve nursing staff satisfaction. Whether in favor of regulation or not, it is important for state policy makers to consider the pros and cons of mandating…show more content…
Fourteen states presently have mandates that regulate nurse-patient staffing levels. These states include: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Washington (“American Nurses Association”, 2015, para.6). Out of these states however, California is the only state that specifically requires a minimum nurse-patient ratio that is to be sustained at all times. Massachusetts requires that a 1:1 or 1:2 nurse-patient ratio be present in all ICU’s, which is also reliant on the strength of the patient (para.7). All other states tend to have laws that are categorized into one of three broad methods: “The first is to require hospitals to have a nurse driven staffing committee which create staffing plans that reflect the needs of the patient population and match the skills and experience of the staff. The second approach is for legislators to mandate specific nurse to patient ratios in legislation or regulation. A third approach is requiring facilities to disclose staffing levels to the public and /or a regulatory body” (para. 4). An example of legislation that falls under these methods is the Registered Nurse Staffing Act. This act requires that Medicare certified hospitals publicly report staffing plans for every nursing unit. The report is require to be completed by a committee including 55% direct care nurses (“American Nurses Association”, n.d.) There are several other
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