Nurse Staffing Ratios

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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
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Every year, JCAHO publishes national patient safety goals such as decreasing falls, preventing medication errors and infections, etc. Core Measures have also been instituted by JCAHO in an effort to provide the best evidence based practices to patients who are admitted to the hospital with specific illnesses such as heart failure or pneumonia. Hospitals are no longer getting reimbursed from Medicare for adverse patient outcomes sustained in the hospital setting such as the development of pressure ulcers or core measure fallouts. Medicare is also not paying hospitals if patients with certain diseases are being re-admitted within 30 days of their previous discharge. These restrictions are costing hospitals billions of dollars a …show more content…
Malinda Markowitz, the Co-President of the California Nurses Association summed up the decrease in staffing and quality of care perfectly when she stated,
“We had seen a deterioration of the quality of care that our patients were receiving as a direct result of having more patients assigned to one nurse than was safe. Patients weren 't receiving the emotional care, medications were being delayed, patients weren 't up ambulating [walking about, assisted by a nurse], we 'd see an increase in infections, we weren 't turning patients as much as necessary” (Devet, 2014).
Research has shown increases in adverse patient outcomes such as death, infection, falls, mistakes and medical errors with higher nurse-patient ratios. According to a report published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), “higher registered nurse staffing was associated with less hospital-related mortality, failure to rescue, cardiac arrest, hospital acquired pneumonia, and other adverse events” (Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center,

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