Appropriate nurse staffing is a very complicated procedure that varies per shift. For mandatory nurse-patient ratios to work, there must be close coordination between management and nursing, as well as a careful assessment of patient acuity, patient turnover, the availability of support workers, and the location of care. Over the last two decades, hospitals have faced financial insecurity as a consequence of declining payer payments, increased acuity patients, and expanding rivalry from competing organizations. As a result, hospitals are always looking for cost-cutting measures. Given that registered nurse pay and benefits account for a significant amount of total hospital expenditures, hospitals have sought to cut nurse employment in order to save money and improve profits (Olley et al., 2019). However, empirical research has shown that proper nurse staffing results in improved outcomes for both patients and nurses without impairing a hospital’s financial success.
Impacts and Benefits of Mandatory Nurse-Patient Ratios
At any one moment in the United States, a registered nurse may care for no less than three patients. Patients are put at risk and health outcomes degraded as a result of RNs having to care for more patients than is safe. By requiring a minimal patient-to-nurse ratio, this bill would protect the public and improve health care. Nurses’ ability to keep patients safe depends on their ability to pay close attention to them at the bedside (Rastogi & Chertow, 2018). The ability of a nurse to provide safe care is always weakened as the number of patients she is assigned becomes larger. Patient acuity, admissions, transfers, and discharges, nursing staff skill mix and experience, the architectural layout of the nursing unit, and access to technology and other resources all play a role in nurse staffing.
Being a science-based job, nurses are more educated than other professions. Additionally, being a holistic profession, nurses are aware of the need of individualized treatment for patients. Smaller patient groups allow for more time to be spent with each patient, which allows the doctor to better calm, evaluate, monitor, and intervene as needed. It also gives the doctor more time to educate and comfort worried family members about their loved one’s progress in treatment (Rastogi & Chertow, 2018). In order to help people, we must equip the nurses with sufficient resources, and ensuring that the facilities we work in have enough personnel is a key part of that process.
A uniform, high-quality treatment standard is required for every patient. Adequate patient staffing has shown to reduce patient mortality, readmission after discharge and recovery across decades of research. Nursing’s advocacy voice and our union contracts would protect our patients from the repercussions of delayed treatment, including medical blunders, health care disparities, and infections if ratios were included into federal legislation and regulation as well as our union contracts (Olley et al., 2019).
As far as public policy is concerned, there may be a greater need for government agencies to help the United States maintain a sufficient supply of nurses, given the empirical evidence of the influence of nursing on both quality of care and financial consequences. Hospitals and other health care facilities need to implement additional measures to guarantee adequate staffing levels because of current nursing shortages and a lack of effective strategies to boost the supply of nurses (Olley et al., 2019). For both public and private payers of medical care, the financial advantages of nursing services may also be observed through reducing length of stay and preventing hospital-acquired adverse events. This helps to connect quality of care with compensation.
Olley, R., Edwards, I., Avery, M., & Cooper, H. (2019). Systematic review of the evidence related to mandated nurse staffing ratios in acute hospitals. Australian Health Review, 43(3), 288. https://doi.org/10.1071/ah16252
Rastogi, A., & Chertow, G. M. (2018). Mandating staffing ratios in hemodialysis facilities. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 13(7), 1110-1112. https://doi.org/10.2215/cjn.03030318