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Nurse-Patient Ratio


The nurse-patient ratio refers to how many patients one nurse can care for at any given moment. The nurse-patient ratio is determined by various factors, including the intensity of the patients for whom the nurses are caring (Qureshi et al., 2019). For example, if a nurse works in an ICU, the nurse-to-patient ratio maybe 1 to 2 patients. In the healthcare industry, nurse-patient rationing is critical since it can lead to favorable outcomes. Nurses, patients, and even healthcare organizations have succeeded when employing a safe nurse staffing technique. Nurses report higher job satisfaction when they have fewer patients to care for at once. The primary goal of this capstone project is to discuss the nurse-patient ratio, its impact, and potential solutions.

Statement of Problem

Nursing is one of the professions in the medical field that plays a vital role. Taking care of patients in hospitals and occasionally at home (home-based care) is one of the essential tasks that nurses play in the industry. Nurses also aid in the management of health center. However, individuals working in this field encounter several problems and constraints in their daily tasks. One of the most common issues, among others, is the nurse-patient ratio, which has a significant impact on the nursing profession. One of the most critical concerns discussed in the nursing sector is the rising nurse-to-patient ratio.

Nurses are being required to care for more patients at a time across the country, and local states or healthcare organizations are left to deal with the situation. More nurses are afraid that the NHS’s current capacity will not be sufficient to meet rising demands. According to the RN Network, roughly 62 percent of nurses had burnout symptoms in their workplaces in 2018 according to Cornwall. Burnout nurses have a hard time providing excellent patient care and frequently report strained relationships at work (Roberson et al., 2019). It’s because of the unbalanced nurse-to-patient ratios, which force one nurse to care for more than two nurses at once.

Short staffing has played a significant role in the rising nurse-to-patient ratio affecting nurses today. Unfortunately, the nurse-to-patient ratio has jeopardized many patients’ health and has severely harmed nurses’ working conditions. In addition, because of nurses’ poor attendance and lack of attention, the reduced number of nurses available to care for patients has contributed to patients being in hospitals more extended than in the past (Roberson et al., 2019). As a result, there was a pressing need to perform a nurse-patient ratio study to see how it could help resolve the negative impact of nurses caring for more patients at once despite their restricted numbers.

Significance of the Project

This project is a cornerstone that will look into the effects of high nurse-to-patient ratios, how they affect patient care and nurse well-being, and what can be done to reduce them. Due to rising nurse shortages in the United States, most nurses are forced to care for multiple patients at once, resulting in fatigue and burnout. It has made it difficult for them to perform well and provide their patients with high-quality care. The effects of high nurse-patient outcomes on patients’ care are the most critical issues that most people in the nursing field should focus on. The project’s goal is to influence policy governing nurse-patient ratios in the healthcare organization where I work. Because each state in the United States has its nurse-to-patient ratio policy, this study will aid healthcare professionals in developing policies to address the impact of high nurse-to-patient ratios on patient outcomes (Shin et al., 2018).

The project is critical because it will allow me to research ways to reduce nursing shortages, resulting in a limited number of nurses compared to the patients they care for in healthcare organizations. It will also teach me to obtain the necessary data using both secondary and primary sources. The nurses and the patients will be the beneficiaries of this project. Identifying the causes of a high nurse-to-patient ratio and finding solutions will assist nurses in becoming more effective and satisfied with their work. In addition, the solution will assist patients in receiving the high-quality care they deserve from their healthcare providers.


The high nurse-patient ratio is among the healthcare issues that widely influence nursing practices and patient care outcomes. It has resulted from shortages being experienced in the nursing sector. Because of the shortages, nurses are forced to eat and many patients at aim, which has caused fatigue and burnout, preventing most nurses from performing their duties effectively as expected (Qureshi et al., 2019). In most cases, nurses having a heavy workload are always not satisfied with their job, and in return, they are always looking for ways to escape, which return leads to high turnover rates being experienced in the healthcare sector.

An area that is always affected by the high nurse-patient ratio is its effects on patient care in that nurses cannot care for their patients effectively because of the strained relationship existing because nurses cannot care for every patient fully, including paying attention o them during treatment. In return, nurses spend a lot of time within facilities and still do not get the high-quality healthcare services they need. Ideally, this project aims to help organizations, especially those that are wok for to understand the effects of a high nurse-patient ratio and how it can influence them to develop policies to use the number of nurses per patient.


Allsup, J., Dahl, T., & Roberson, D. (2019). Relationship Between Nurse-Patient Ratios and Nurse Burnout.

Cornwall, L. (2018, December 12). 2018 Modern Nurse Survey: Nursing shortage leading to nurse burnout. RNnetwork – Travel Nursing Blog.

Qureshi, S. M., Purdy, N., Mohani, A., & Neumann, W. P. (2019). Predicting the effect of nurse–patient ratio on nurse workload and care quality using discrete event simulation. Journal of Nursing Management27(5), 971–980.

Shin, J. H., Koh, J., Kim, H. E., Lee, H. J., & Song, S. (2018). Current Status of Nursing Law in the United States and Implications. Health Systems and Policy Research05(01).


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