The primary concern posing a threat to the delivery of high-quality healthcare services is minimum nurse staffing ratios, which remain a mystery in most hospital departments including medical-surgical units. The National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act proposes that all hospitals such as those in California should implement a staffing plan, which complies with the proposed minimum nurse staffing ratios.
We will write a custom Essay on Nurse Staffing Ratios Bills and Laws in California specifically for you
301 certified writers online
According to Everhart, Neff, Al-Amin, Nogle, and Weech-Maldonado (2013), low staffing levels are majorly manifested through low nurse to patient ratios that result in increased workloads, nurse burnout, patient and nurse dissatisfaction, and poor health outcomes. As a result, nurses are likely to leave their work undone or quit professional practice, a move that further worsens debilitating staffing shortages (Everhart et al., 2013).
Further, inadequate staffing of these professionals is a huge menace to the health of patients, which is associated with poor health outcomes including preventable morbidity and mortality. Therefore, meeting minimum nurse staffing ratios promotes the delivery of high-quality care, patient safety and satisfaction, and better treatment outcomes.
Reduced nurse-patient ratios are associated with many clinical problems including low-quality care and the subsequent adverse impacts. High patient-nurse ratios are associated with increased workload, nurse burnout, medication errors, reduced nurse-patient interactions, and increased hospital nosocomial problems like infections and patient falls (Hinno, Partanen, & Vehviläinen-Julkunen, 2012). These problems are attributed to staffing shortages that reduce the time for providing timely care including the turning and repositioning of immobile patients and the time nurses spend with their patients.
As a professional clinical nurse, I work in a medical-surgical ward in a Californian hospital, which suffers from the acute shortage of nursing professionals. One time, I was in the ward taking care of nine patients, a number that surpasses the recommended nurse to patient ratios. As a result, the workload was overwhelming; much focus was on completing tasks such as drug administration and documentation. Consequently, time for interacting with patients was reduced, some of the patients missed medications, and in some cases, medications were administered inappropriately. Eventually, the lives of patients were at risk.
In the State of California, all nursing departments including the medical-surgical units should meet set minimum nurse-patient ratios at all times. The renowned Safe Nurse Staffing for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act mandates the realization of these ratios to achieve high-quality care and better health outcomes. The financial impact of meeting the ratios is associated with reduced hospital stays due to faster patient recovery, reduced nurse turnover, less patient falls, nosocomial infections, and medication errors.
Besides, increased nurse-patient therapeutic interrelationships are evident when nurse staffing levels are increased. Further, costly lawsuits attributed to medication errors and other problems associated with low nurse-patient ratios can be avoided. Eventually, hospitals can generate huge revenues in addition to alleviating the high patient costs of dealing with problems emanating from nursing shortages and high nurse turnover.
Clinicians, especially nurses and doctors, are more likely to support and approve this bill because it will significantly curb the menace of healthcare provider shortages. Patients will also approve it due to the associated high-quality care and better health outcomes when implemented. That notwithstanding, hospitals and the government both at the state and national level will approve the bill due to the associated benefits, especially the financial ones. However, hospitals with fewer patients have low revenues to pay for nursing services are likely to oppose this bill.
Everhart, D., Neff, D., Al-Amin, M., Nogle, J., & Weech-Maldonado, R. (2013). The effects of nurse staffing on hospital financial performance: Competitive versus less competitive markets. Health Care Management Review, 38(2), 146–155.
Hinno, S., Partanen, P., & Vehviläinen-Julkunen, K. (2012). Nursing activities, nurse staffing and adverse patient outcomes as perceived by hospital nurses. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21(11/12), 1584-1593.