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Mandatory Nurse-Patient ratios in Pennsylvania - Essay Example

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A house bill introduced in the last decade insisted that hospitals and other healthcare facilities should develop and implement state-specified, unit-specific, nurse to patient ratios. The major purpose of this healthcare policy is to improve the overall quality of care and to…
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Mandatory Nurse-Patient ratios in Pennsylvania
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Mandatory Nurse-Patient ratios in Pennsylvania

Download file to see previous pages... One-half of the nurse staffing committee members should be registered nurses currently delivering direct patient care and the rest of the members may be determined by the hospital administration (ARON, 2013). The committee is authorized by the house bill to consider matters such as competencies of the nurses and patients’ acuity. In addition to nurse-patient ratios, this bill also addresses several other concerns including intensity of care, staff skills mix, availability of support staff in the shift, and the physical environment.
Michael and Page (2010) state that nurse staff shortage or understaffing has been a major issue leading to medical negligence, clinical errors, and poor quality healthcare (p.102). To illustrate, a study published in 2002 found that surgery patients in hospitals with high nurse-patient ratios are at 31% increased risk of mortality. Similarly, a report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicated that improvement in nurse-patient ratios can decrease rescue failures and hospital stays. A research work published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2005 (as cited in Conis, 2009) suggested that an improved nurse-patient ratio of 1:4 could save up to 72,000 lives a year. Long working schedules, inflexible work shifts, and work overload often force professional nurses to consider leaving the profession. A recent study by Okrent (2012) indicated that roughly 45% of the nurses planned to make major career changes over the next three years. It is dreadful to note that a significant percent of the current nursing workforce considers professions outside nursing. This adverse situation justifies the need of implementing a nursing policy that would better regulate nurse staffing ratios in the country and thereby contribute to staff satisfaction. Statistical evidences suggest that hospitals incur huge nurse turnover ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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