Here is an interesting article from NurseLabs. I often post articles that pertain to nurse staffing, so of course this article caught my attention. As a nurse for 25 years, I have often complained about staffing ratios in the hospitals I worked in. It isn’t rocket science to connect the dots between patient outcomes and nurse to patient ratios.
This article gives you a chance to read not only the ideas about why nurse staffing levels are important, but also gives you the research that was used to make the argument. It also gives suggestions for what you can do to make a change.
The author uses humor to address serious issues but make no mistake, this is no laughing matter. Lives depend on the outcome of this issue.
Please read the entire article and make up your own mind about this issue.
Worldwide, nurse staffing levels are impacted by the shortage of nurses, budget cuts, greater public demand for health care and aging populations. Safe nurse staffing has become a major issue in the nursing profession leading to extensive research studies, protests, as well as advocacy for appropriate legislation by major nursing organizations.
In June 2016 the New York State Assembly overwhelmingly passed the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, but this Act still has to be approved by the Senate. “The issues of chronic understaffing and low nurse-to-patient ratios are alarming and real. Ignoring nurses’ concerns for the wellbeing of their patients is both egregious and ill advised” said Barry Kaufman, the President of the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans at a press conference afterwards. “Retired Americans know that passing this legislation is literally a life and death matter for many of our members.”
“THE ISSUES OF CHRONIC UNDERSTAFFING AND LOW NURSE-TO-PATIENT RATIOS ARE ALARMING AND REAL.”
Safe staffing levels allows for quality patient care, higher job satisfaction and retention of nurses and better overall outcomes for organizations. The following points about nurse staffing levels are supported by mounting research evidence in published studies across the world.
1. Staffing levels impact on patient morbidity and mortality
Nurses are the ones who care for hospitalized patients 24 hours of the day and the nurse’s name on the patient’s chart means that she has full responsibility for the patient’s welfare and safety. But what happens when the nurse is caring for too many patients and stretched so thin that it becomes impossible to see everything she needs to see and be everywhere she needs to be? This not only places patients seriously at risk but also the nurse’s license.
Numerous studies (1, 2, 3, 4) have correlated higher levels of nurse staffing with positive patient outcomes, decreases in the length of stay of patients, a lower rate of readmission and reduced patient mortality. This means that besides improving patient satisfaction, safe staffing levels also cut patient care costs.
“BESIDES IMPROVING PATIENT SATISFACTION, SAFE STAFFING LEVELS ALSO CUT PATIENT CARE COSTS.”
For us as nurses it also comes as no surprise that research links low staffing levels with a…