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.RecommendationThe Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act provides adetailed 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. AdvocateAfter 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 closedon many small rural hospitals, would lead to a decrease in access to medical care, especially
9MANDATED STAFFING RATIOSthose 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. Although many hospitals do not have mandated staffing ratios, they do implement appropriate acuity scales which allow for more manageable patient assignments (S. Vlachos, person communication, November 25, 2019). This policy would have a negative consequence on the vulnerable populations in the community and limit their access to necessary medical resources (Sofer, 2019). ConclusionThe Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act serves to benefit not only nurses, but patients as well. There have been multiple studies conducted showing the positive impact this healthcare policy could have on both patients and nurses. Unfortunately, with its strength come weaknesses and unintentional consequences. There are some changes that could be made to improve this healthcare policy to better suite all the hospitals in the nation, but the main focus is to improve patient safety, which in the end this
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- Winter '17
- Dr. Ruth
- Nursing, Senator Sherrod Brown, Nurse Staffing Standards, Hospital Patient Safety