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In Focus: The Nurse to Patient Ratio at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles County - Assignment Example

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The problem that the researcher chose to address is the nurse-to-patient ratio in the USC Medical Center. The organisation that the researcher chose is the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles County, located in California, USA…
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In Focus: The Nurse to Patient Ratio at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles County
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In Focus: The Nurse to Patient Ratio at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles County

Download file to see previous pages... It is a public hospital founded in 1878 and is affiliated with the University of Southern California. The hospital provisions general care service and its emergency department is a Level I trauma center. The LAC USC is considered as one of the largest medical training centers and public hospitals across US (USC, 2006). It is also known as the largest provider of healthcare services in Los Angeles County. Its operations involve serving those who are underprivileged, which usually caters to trauma victims and patients suffering from AIDS and sickle-cell anemia (California Nurses Association, 2009). The Management Issue Under Consideration Although the nurse staffing has been considered average to high in the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles County, it hasn't been credited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as being able to meet exceptional standards in providing nursing excellence. Like most US hospitals, the nurses from the LAC+USC complain that there are too many patients that need to be attended to (California Nurses Association, 2009). The emergency rooms were crowded and the hospital management was over-assigning staff which violates the law concerning safe nurse staffing. There was an instance wherein a shift was covered only by two nurses and they had to deal with 50 patients. As stated by law, 13 nurses should have been present at that particular shift (National Academy Press, 2004). More alarming cases were instances when patients had to wait up to 16 hours before they get medical attention or even have to wait for days for a hospital bed to be available (Nursingworld.org, 2011). At present, the hospital only has 600 beds (USC, 2006).The hospital has approximately 3,500 nurses. In order to be able to comply with the directives mandated, the hospital would need to employ a thousand more (Nursingworld.org, 2011). Apart from the nurse shortage issue, another pressing concern is the turn over. Since nurses across the county are overworked, they experience job dissatisfaction and burnout (National Academy Press, 2000). The California government has mandated that a licensed nurse should accommodate at least 6 medical and surgical patients, which was passed in 2002 and should be put into effect by July 2003. Once the directive is fully implemented, the patient to nurse ratio would shift to 1 nurse per 5 patients (Office of the Governor, 2002). A study showed that despite the legislations passed covering safe staff nursing; almost 85% of hospitals in the United States do not adhere to this because they are low on staff (nursingworld.org, 2011). The problem lies in the availability of staff, that in spite of the hospital management's intention to adhere to the law, they are not able to do so because of the staff shortage (Kovner, Jones, and Zhan, 2007). In essence, the management issue that the researcher intends to focus on is the nurse-to-patient ratio among hospitals. This issue produces inadequate nurse staffing, thus adversely affecting the performance of nurses and the quality of provided to the patients. Concept Map Nurses employed in hospitals that practice a higher nurse to patient ratio most likely generates job dissatisfaction and burnout. It can be noted that although staffing only plays a single aspect of healthcare facilities such as hospitals, it produces a domino effect that affects other facets of the operation (Trafford, 2002). Apart from influencing the degree of performance delivered by reducing mortality rates and ensuring the provision of safe and effective care, it can also affect the hospital itself. Job turnover would result to the need of hospitals to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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