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hospitals to begin implementing this policy.AB 394 was created to address concerns for the safety and health of the increasing number of patients being admitted into hospitals, alongside the demand on nurses to care for these patients. California realized that the growing demand on nurses had become unsustainable
POLICY BRIEFING DOCUMENT3and was putting patients (and nurses) at risk. In order to address these concerns, hospitals would have to increase staffing and decrease the ratio of patients to nurses. The California RN Staffing Ratio law (AB 394) mandates that hospitals maintain a level of nursing staff that addresses specific ratios of nurse-to-patient care based on the type of care (See Table 1 below), (Kasprak, 2004). This law also prohibits hospitals from assigning an unlicensed person to perform nursing functions in lieu of a registered nurse and other assignments without the demonstrated competency, training, and orientation, (Bill Text: AB-394 Health facilities: nursing staff, 1999). Staffing in acute-care hospitals was insufficient in dealing with the rapidly increasing patient population. Statistics have shown that “quality of patient care is jeopardized because of staffing changes implemented in response to the managed care,” (Bill Text: AB-394 Health facilities: nursing staff, 1999). Nursing is becoming an increasingly more complex profession; therefore, the advancing levels of knowledge required to perform this job demands more direct interaction with the patient. The policy implementing the improved nurse-to-patient ratios as seen in Table 1 on page 5, would increase and improve the safety for both nurses and patients. “Published studies have shown that appropriate nurse staffing helps decrease nurse fatigue and burnout, which promotes increased safety for both the nurse and patient, and in turn creates higher job satisfaction,” (Votroubek, 2017). With the law in effect in California, there has also been reported higher