The problem of nurse staffing directly affects nurses as one of the major stakeholder groups in this matter and, thus, they must actively advocate for the improvement of the current situation. The adequacy of nurse-patient ratios is one of the hottest topics in many hospitals nowadays. A lot of clinical settings strive to do some changes and introduce organization-wide standards and policies that would help them meet their staffing needs better. Nevertheless, it is valid to say that the adoption of the state and national legislation would allow accelerate the improvement process and result in more significant and sustainable positive results.
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The fact that the New York State Assembly passed the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act indicates that the authorities and the public recognize the importance of nurses in maintaining patient safety. However, the legislation is not enacted so far, and one of the ways to contribute to the progress in this regard is through a conversation with state senators. The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA, 2016) encourages hospitals and practitioners to send e-mails to the State Senate and motivate authorities to vote for safe staffing. The engagement of nurses in such conversations is important because, in this way, they create a “feedback loop to inform policymakers about the realities [of] nursing practice and patient care” (Waddell, Audette, DeLong, & Brostoff, 2016, p. 15). It is pivotal to examine the clinical implications of pending regulations in order to provide policymakers with evidence and arguments that would convince them (Waddell et al., 2016). For this reason, it may be suggested for nurses to build their advocacy skills, study the overall political context of healthcare, and get more familiar with the legislative processes in their states.
New York State Nurses Association. (2016). Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act passed by NYS Assembly! NYSNA. Web.
Waddell, A., Audette, K., DeLong, A., & Brostoff, M. (2016). A hospital-based interdisciplinary model for increasing nurses’ engagement in legislative advocacy. Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice, 17(1), 15-23.