Nurse To Patient Ratio Essay

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California 's ratio has opened the door to improvement. Public concern with hospital facilities, errors in care, and lack of staffing led to the state of California mandating that a minimum patient to nurse ratio be administered and begin in 2004 (Scott). The California
Department of Health took a multiple years to process and determine what the minimum ratios needed to be set based on research and other factors (Dorning). After doing so, California implemented different ratios ranging from the highest ratio at 6:1, in the psychiatric unit, and the lowest at 2:1, in the intensive care unit. California was the first state to administer a nurse to patient ratio and many other facilities use their hospitals ethic as a guide line to model their
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More facilities would benefit from mandating a ratio, it will help improve the care given by nurses.
Administering a nurse to patient ratio is crucial for hospitals to properly function. The
Number of patients a RN has at one time can alter the care the patient receives. Nurses perform a wide range of care, from examining patients, administering medication or wound care, and interpreting symptoms. Sometimes nurses are even trusted to make critical decisions about what care will be administered. If a nurse is in charge of giving 10 plus patients at one time such a wide range of care, how safe and effective is the care? One of the more publicized studies was conducted by Dr. Linda Aiken and her colleagues. She compared California 's ratios to New
Jersey and Pennsylvania, because New Jersey and Pennsylvania have around the same population as California, but do not have a state mandated ratio. The main focus of Aiken 's study was looking at incidents such as failure to rescue and the overall patient and nurse mortality. Results regarding her research were in favor of California 's regulation on patient
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Dr. Tom Long states, "Fatigue has been linked to performance decrements in health care workers" (Long). Working 12 hours straight while performing a wide ranges of care, which is both physical and mental, can be a recipe for fatigue. Nurses are responsible for many task, such as administering medications. Having the right amount of medication or even the correct medication is crucial, and if the wrong medication is given, or too much or to little of the medication is given it can be life threatening. Would you want a tired, fatigued nurse to administer a patients medication? Nurses do such a variety of different things room for error is
Brooks 4 every where. Besides error in administering medication, error could be made in procedure, testing, and treatment, leading to more problems.
The risk for errors in the care administered by a nurse is increased the longer the shift continues. "An examination of 6017 work shifts indicated that nurses worked longer than scheduled on a regular basis" (Stone). So, if nurses are often working even longer than 12

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