Nurse-to-Patient Ratio - Research Proposal Example

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Proposal for a Research Paper on Nurse-to-Patient Ratio Name of Author Author’s Affiliation Author Note Author note with more information about affiliation, research grants, conflict of interest and how to contact Creating a Research Project Proposal Introduction: There appears to exist a tendency on the part of healthcare administrators to ignore the aspect of ‘nurse to patient ratios’ when staffing hospitals and other such institutions…
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Download file to see previous pages However, this factor is never considered when nurses are assigned to care for a selected number of patients. Quoting Barbara Blakeney, President, American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) endorses the fact that inadequate nurse staffing is the primary concern for the nurses and that “when RN care is insufficient, patient safety is compromised and the risk of death is increased” (Nurse-to-Patient Ratios, 2007). Shortage of nurses places extra onus on the available staff and hence seasoned nurses are matriculating away from bedside nursing. This happens primarily because the added tasks needed to be performed are not directly related to patient care. This can be evidenced in the case of Cameroon Diva, a BSN, who states that she wants to quit bedside nursing because in the hospital where she has worked, they had “extreme staff shortage and not enough nursing assistance on the floor” (Diva, 1996). Besides, the frequent changes in computerized charting require nurses to remain near their computers and take their time away from the primary task of patient care. It is a matter of common knowledge that higher patient-to-nurse ratios cause significant physical and mental exhaustion and result in greater job dissatisfaction among nurses. Patient well-being directly correlates to the amount of nursing care a patient receives daily. Therefore, in order to achieve the objective of providing quality patient care, administrators and managers need to ensure that healthcare institutions attain an appropriate level of patient-nurse ratio. Problem Statement: Current policy on Medical-Surgical nursing units across America’s hospitals require that Registered Nurses care for five to six (average of “5.25”) acutely and chronically ill patients in a 12 hour shift (Welton, 2007). Licensed practical nurses also care for 6 to 7 patients during a 12 hour shift. Nurses feel that added tasks take away a considerable portion of their time, which otherwise can be spent on patient care. The diversification in the roles of nurses today, through deployment on other tasks, calls for a closer examination of the need to change the policy pertaining to nurse–to-patient ratios. In this context, the findings of Aiken et al can be perceived as the “primary arguments for setting specific nurse-to-patient staffing ratios” (Welton, 2007). There is a definitive discrepancy between what healthcare administrators believe to be adequate the level of nurse-patient ratio and actual number of patients a nurse is required to care for. This creates impediments in administering proper care to the needy patients, which, in turn, impacts patient mortality rates. Besides, the shortage in staffing also adversely affects the job satisfaction of nurses and, as a consequence, their rate of burnout increases. Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study is to determine whether there exists a correlation between nurse-to-patient ratios and patient mortality. The number of patients cared for by a single nurse may have better outcomes in terms of length of hospital stay and fewer complications. Additionally, nurses who derive satisfaction from their jobs are less likely to leave their jobs. The study will also investigate the increasing trend of nurse burnout and find ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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