A Nurse Staffing Ratio Law InCalifornia began implementing a law requiring all of its hospitals to limit the numbers of patients that its nurses could treat at any given time.
The result has been a market-friendly approach to legislation that mandates hospitals and health systems address staffing ratios themselves via internal committees.
National Nurses United Hospitals across the country have growing caseloads of patients and limited numbers of nurses available to treat them—the consequence of 20 years of hospital downsizing due to state budget cuts and private mergers.
They have several allies in the U. In most states where staffing legislation exists, policymakers have forged compromise between nurses and hospitals.
Five states enforce a reporting mechanism for publicly disclosing staffing ratios. Welton also dismissed two studies on staffing ratios from the s in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, both cited among safe staffing advocates.
That year, applications for nursing licenses increased by more than 60 percent. Fewer patients got sick in the hospital, more recovered, and fewer had to return because of post-treatment complications. In some cases, the ratio laws might even leave some patients waiting longer to be treated, she added.
An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Staffing problems will only intensify as baby boomers age and the demand for health care services grows, making safe-staffing ratios an ever-pressing concern. Boyle said the hospital industry made similar claims when the state banned mandatory overtime for nurses in Citing surveys and nurse testimonials, the union attests that the no-longer-overworked nurses gained newfound time to give to each patient, and even time to give themselves occasional needed breaks.
Safe-Staffing Ratios Improve the Workplace and Patient Care InCalifornia became the first state to implement minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, designed to improve patient care and nurse retention. Among all healthcare practitioner and technical occupations, there were 65, nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that required a median of seven days away from work.
Seven states pass the buck on to hospital committees responsible for setting ratios within their own facilities. A Journal of Hospital Medicine study found that hospitals with a high proportion of Medicaid and uninsured patients were significantly more likely to be above minimum nurse-to-patient ratios than hospitals with low proportions of Medicaid patients.
The nurse might want to step away from those two and bring in another one or two patients from the waiting room. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, March The bill, which is still in committee, would amend the Public Health Service Act to establish direct care registered nurse-to-patient staffing ratio requirements in hospitals, and for other purposes.
The limits would vary depending on the hospital setting. Is there an ideal patient-nurse ratio? Getting into a Program: She doubts that any state will be interested in taking up the challenge of nurse-staff ratio reforms, as well.
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.
When the bill first passed, many within the healthcare community hoped that it would lead the way for other states to adopt similar laws. Additionally, it would restrict mandatory RN overtime to times of emergency. On a less critical unit, say a med-surg floor, one nurse may be responsible for up to six patients on day shift, but maybe 8 on evening shift.
Hospitals with temporary nurse staffing under five percent reported fewer hospital-acquired infections and fewer patient falls than hospitals with temporary nurse staffing at five to 15 percent.mandatory nurse-patient ratios is drawn from the belief that regulated registered nurse (RN) staffing will increase positive patient outcomes, decrease nursing shortages, and increase nurse recruitment and job satisfaction (Unruh, ).
According to Blakeman Hodge and col. CA is the only state that stipulates in law and regulations a required minimum nurse to patient ratios to be maintained at all times by unit.
MA passed a law specific to ICU requiring a or nurse to patient ratio depending on stability of the patient. For example, the nurse-to-patient ratio in a critical care unit must be or fewer at all times, and the nurse-to-patient ratio in an emergency department must be or fewer at all times that patients are receiving treatment, the law states.
Because the condition of patients fluctuates constantly, flexible nurse staffing that goes beyond fixed nurse-to-patient ratios is imperative. Inappropriate nurse staffing is a persistent and major barrier to delivering optimal patient care and one of the most dangerous threats to patient safety.
For example, the nurse-to-patient ratio in a critical care unit must be or fewer at all times, and the nurse-to-patient ratio in an emergency department must be or fewer at all times that patients are receiving treatment, the law states.
Nurses have an integral role in the health care system. State-mandated safe-staffing ratios are necessary to ensure the safety of patients and nurses. Adequate nurse staffing is key to patient care and nurse retention, while inadequate staffing endangers patients and drives nurses from their profession.Download