Safe Nurse Patient Ratio Is A Complex Issue Debated

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Safe nurse-patient ratio is a complex issue debated on for many years. Due to inadequate staffing registered Nurses are faced with high patient ratios, and nurse burn out everyday. According to the American Nurses Association, “Massive Reductions in nursing budgets combined with, the challenges presented by a growing nursing shortage have resulted in fewer nurses working longer hours for sicker patients. This situation compromises care and contributes to the nursing shortage by creating an environment that drives nurses from the bedside”. (2012) Through the nursing process, the essential role of the Registered Nurse is to assess, diagnose, and plan based on outcomes, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of nursing care. However, it is not realistic to thoroughly implement these core guidelines in a safe and effective way, when you are responsible for an inadequate patient load. The demands of the nursing profession are leaving a significant impact on not only the Registered Nurses themselves, but also the patients and hospital organizations they work for as well. Nurses have a duty to provide safe, quality care to all patients, provided they must have an appropriate level of nurse-patient ratios to do so. Inadequate ratios are associated with increased levels of falls, hospital acquired infections, and pressure ulcers. Infections such as pneumonia that can lead to death, and hospital acquired pressure ulcers are preventable, and when they occur they can be costly for the hospital facility. Hospital acquired pressure ulcers alone, can cost a facility about $8.5 billion dollars per year. Nevertheless, this will also bring down patient satisfaction, which, directly contributes to the organization’s reimbursement. HCAHPS (Hospita... ... middle of paper ... ...hether the mix of skills of nurses or number of patient care hours was more significant, two models were used to gather the results. The first model looked at mix of skills and proportion hours of care provided by RN’s, LPN’s, and nurse aides per day. The second model measured all nurse staffing of RN’s, LPN’s, and nurse aides in hours per day. The overall results were that a higher proportion of total hours of nursing care provided by the licensed registered nurse and higher staff levels, are associated with lower rates of adverse outcomes. Evidence based practice studies and research have proven that short staffing does have a significant impact on patient adverse outcomes and that hospital administrators, accreditors, and insurers should utilize these facts to promote a healthier, safer work environment for our nurses, and promote better patient quality of care.

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