Policy Politics and Global Health (5).docx - POLICY POLITICS GLOBAL HEATLH 1 Policy Politics and Global Health Trends Western Governors University Julie

Policy Politics and Global Health (5).docx - POLICY...

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POLICY, POLITICS, & GLOBAL HEATLH 1 Policy, Politics, and Global Health Trends Western Governors University Julie Hopkins
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POLICY, POLITICS, & GLOBAL HEATLH 2 Safe Nurse Patient Ratios on Acute Medical/Surgical Units in Arkansas Policy Proposal When the Affordable Healthcare Act was passed in March 2010, its main goal was to protect the citizens of the United States concerning access to healthcare and their personal choices. With the passage of the bill, acute care facilities around the country were challenged to comply with new standards set, in order to be compensated for the care that patients received. Those same facilities now face challenges to meet the higher expectations while maintaining an operating budget that would allow them to stay competitive in the market. The nursing staff is the highest expenditure for any healthcare facility, but especially that in the acute care world. In other words, the administration now had a goal set before them to meet patient needs while cutting back on valuable nursing hours. While this practice boosts the profit margin, it has caused problems, sometimes deadly, to the patients that are served. Public Policy Issue Safe nursing staff ratios can be a matter of life and death to a patient. Nurse staffing ratios continue to be a problem throughout the country and the state of Arkansas is no different. The standard nurse to patient ratio in Arkansas is 1:6 on any given general medical/surgical unit in the state. Most healthcare staffing models are antiquated and need to be revised to meet the increasing demands of patient acuity and the nursing profession. According to the American Nurse Association [ANA] and Avalere (2015), inadequate nurse staffing is directly related to a higher rate of readmissions, decreased patient satisfaction scores, higher patient mortality, and a high incidence of nurse fatigue. The ANA and Avalere also conclude that when nurse-patient ratios are reduced and adequate staffing is available, there are significant reductions in medical and medication errors; patient mortality; hospital readmissions and length of stays; patient care costs; and nurse fatigue. There is also a reduction of incidence of falls, pressure wounds, and
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POLICY, POLITICS, & GLOBAL HEATLH 3 infections, such as catheter associated urinary tract infections. With adequate nurse-patient staffing ratios, there is an increase of patient safety, nurse retention and job satisfaction, which all leads to safer care of the public. The proposal put forth in this paper is to mandate a licensed nurse to patient staffing ratio of 1:4 on general medical/surgical units in acute care facilities in the state of Arkansas. Issue Selection This topic is selected due to my work as a travel nurse for nine years. In many facilities that I contracted in, the staffing ratio was too high to adequately care for patients. Acuity was never considered, nor was the experience of the nurse. As a contracted nurse, I was often given more complex or “problem” patients without regard to safety.
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