1Running head: GLOBAL HEALTH TRENDSC159: Policy, Politics, and Global Health TrendsSheila MichaelWestern Governors University
2GLOBAL HEALTH TRENDSNursing Profession Public Policy Issue Requiring ChangeA nursing profession public policy that I propose is mandated nurse to patient staff ratios. As a result of healthcare facilities efforts to cut back on costs, nurses are at times forced to take far too many patients. Barrows explains that higher patient-to-nurse ratios have been known to cause emotional exhaustion, job dissatisfaction and fatigue (2019).This public policy issue impacts nurses as well as the patients they take care of. Enforcing nurse to patient staffing ratios ensures patient safety. Nurses with too many patients feel rushed and overwhelmed and are more likely to make mistakes regarding patient care. Nurses are also more distracted and are more likely to miss a critical change in a patient’s condition. These distractions and stressors can resultin decreased patient satisfaction or decreased patient recoveries. Why Nurse to Patient Staff Ratios was ChosenThis public policy issue was selected because it not only affects one area of healthcare. It is an issue that affects a wide range of people and organizations. Nurses are not only present in hospitals but also nursing homes, rehab facilities, psychiatric facilities, etc. It not only affects nurses but patients and other healthcare staff members as well. The policy if implemented would help nurses by lowering their stress and giving them more time to perform their duties accurately.The policy will help patients by keeping them safe and providing them with adequate nursing care. The policy affects physicians by allowing them to trust the nurses of their patients easily; which would lower their stress as well. The policy would help many organizations in nursing retention. Nurses who are stressed and unhappy with their job are more likely to leave their current place of employment. This public policy issue was also chosen because it is a current issue in my workplace and if safe nurse to patient staffing ratios were mandated it would help mycoworkers and myself as well as the people of my community.
3GLOBAL HEALTH TRENDSRelevance of the Issue to the Health or Nursing ProfessionSafe and adequate nurse to patient staffing ratios are relevant to the nursing profession and healthcare because it negatively impacts nurses. Hospitals without safe nurse to patient staffing ratios have a worse nurse turnover rate. Nurses in California, where nurse to patient ratios are enforced, experienced lower burnout rates than nurses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where nurse to patient ratios are not enforced (Gutsan, Patton, Willis, & Coustasse, 2018). Nurses who are required to take care of more patients than they can handle are more likely to develop nurse burnout and they are more likely to make mistakes resulting in patient harm. Pape explains that nurses complete complex tasks and in order to complete these
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