Mandatory Nurse Staffing Ratios : Policy Problem Essay

1176 Words Oct 4th, 2015 null Page
Mandatory Nurse Staffing Ratios
Policy Problem
Nurse staffing ratios have been the center of countless studies and debates. Research has shown that better nurse staffing ratios decrease patient and nurse injuries, poor patient outcomes, and sentinel events. Multiple factors must be taken into account when forming appropriate patient assignments. The largest of those factors being the increase in patient acuity and decrease in nursing staff. “When health care employers fail to recognize the association between RN staffing and patient outcomes, laws and regulations become necessary” (American Nurses Association, n.d.). Several states have or are currently passing legislation ensuring adequate nurse staffing in the hospital setting to achieve patient safety and decrease medical complications. State staffing legislation typically falls into one of three categories: 1. Hospitals are required to have nurse driven staffing committees to create staffing plans, 2. Laws mandating specific nurse patient ratios, or 3. facilities must disclose staffing levels to the public and/or a regulating body (American Nurses Association, n.d). Laws mandating nurse staffing ratios are not an effective means to controlling adverse patient outcomes. Fourteen states have passed laws or regulations governing staffing policies. California is the only state to pass specific nurse - patient ratios throughout all acute care settings. Massachusetts and Arizona have passed laws for intensive care units (ICU)…

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