healthcare team alongside with the registered nurse, and it is essential to ensure a hospital unit has an appropriate number of nursing assistants as well registered nurses. A recent research initiative done by a CNL, showed an increase number of adverse patient effects when there were a reduced number of nursing assistants on the floor. This was due to the fact registered nurses were taking on more tasks such as activities daily living (ADL’s) and repositioning (S. Vlachos, personal communication, November 25, 2019). Although this policy serves the purpose to improve patient safety, there are some improvements to be made. Recommendation The Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act provides a detailed description on the mandated nurse to patient ratios on particular nursing units. It does not however provide ratios based on patient or hospital acuity. The current policy only mentions patient acuity briefly, stating that consideration would be made to the nurse to patient ratio depending on patient acuity and individual nursing care plans (Brown, 2017). Implementing patient acuity scales in the policy would better distribute patient workload, as well ensure nurses have a safe assignment (Sir, Dundbar, Steege & Pasupathy, 2015). Although there is currently no mandated nurse to patient ratio, a patient acuity system is used as an everyday tool for creating patient assignments (S. Vlachos, personal communication, November 25, 2019). Without implementing a set patient acuity scale, different units could use any acuity scale they see fit, which could drastically change the nurse to patient ratio. Advocate
5 MANDATED NURSE TO PATIENT RATIO After much research and consideration of the current healthcare field, this policy should not be implemented. Although this policy mandates safe nurse to patient ratios, as well as improving patient outcomes, there are more negative and unintended consequences for this policy to create a benefit. Hospitals would not be able to support the staffing ratios, and if they were unable to provide this, they would close their doors (Sofer, 2019). These doors being closed on many small rural hospitals, would lead to a decrease in access to medical care, especially those already facing healthcare disparities. Hospitals that remained open, would have to defer patients and surgical cases if there were not enough nurses to support the incoming patient load.
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- Winter '17
- Dr. Ruth
- Nursing, patient ratio, Nurse Staffing Standards