Mandating nurse patient ratios
Are nurses doing a better job, and by extension, are doctors and other hospital workers?And how much has the increased expense affected hospitals' bottom lines? As one might expect, hospitals and nursing organizations are divided in their perception of how things are going.The Massachusetts Nurses Association, supported the law while the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association were opposed to it.While the election is over, all sides say discussions about patient safety and nurse staffing need to continue. Hickey, Ph D, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, vice president and associate chief nursing officer, cardiovascular and critical care patient services at Boston Children's Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, is internationally known for her work in research and leadership development, care delivery innovation, patient safety, and bridging nursing practice and health policy.Those in favor of nurse-patient staffing ratios say the ratios promote patient safety.Those opposed to staffing ratios say the ratios don't account for patient acuity.
Based on these results, the authors recommended a new "circulator" nurse position to travel and assist with patients and to free primary nurses on the unit to stay with their patients.The California Nurses Association says the ratios have improved nurse retention, raised the numbers of qualified nurses willing to work, reduced burnout, and improved morale.Advocates also say narrower ratios in high-intensity areas, such as the emergency room, have improved patient satisfaction and have reduced medical errors, including medication mistakes and falls.The study calls for developing broader workload strategies to ease nurses' stress and improve care quality.The researchers evaluated the relationships between objective and subjective workload measures and quality of care and found the nurses' perceived workloads had a consistently strong influence on missed essential care.