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Nurse to Patient Ratios

The discussions about Nurse to Patient ratios are not new. The arguments about, what the ratio should be, who is responsible for overseeing that the ratios are being maintained and how all of this is going to be paid for, are not going to stop anytime soon.

Over at the ANA's website there is an article discussing this very subject. The numbers in the article were correct as of June 2010.

"In a survey of almost 220,000 RNs from 13,000 nursing units in over 550 hospitals and a response rate of 70%, nurses reported to ANA that: 54% of nurses in adult medical units and emergency rooms do not have sufficient time with patients; overtime has increased during the past year with 43% of all RNs working extra hours because the unit is short staffed or busy."

"The American Nurses Association (ANA) supports a legislative model in which nurses are empowered to create staffing plans specific to the unit and patient population and to which healthcare facilities are held accountable."

Enacted to date:

Fifteen states, plus the District of Columbia* enacted legislation and/or adopted regulations to address nurse staffing: CA, CT, IL, ME*, MN, NV, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, RI, TX, VT, and WA.

7 states require hospitals to have staffing committees responsible for plans and staffing policy – CT, IL, NV, OH, OR, TX, WA.

1 state stipulates in law / regulations the required minimum nurse to patient ratios to be maintained at all times - CA

5 states require some form of disclosure and / or public reporting – IL, NJ, NY, RI, VT

What are the nurse to patient ratios in your hospital? Do you agree with them? Are your ratios jeopardizing you patients? Do you feel the ratios are appropriate or are they too rigid?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last month I was floated to a different unit and given 6 patients. I balked and the charge nurse said, "It's happening all over the hospital now--we were told that an 'evidence based' study showed that 6/1 is normal and is being done all over the country." I said, "It is dangerous and you know it. If we don't push back we'll be up to 7 patients to 1 nurse." I don't buy the story that there is "evidence" that 6/1 is safe. Of my 6 patients one was a woman with dementia who'd just pulled out her IV and blood was everywhere causing her to need blood, but she continued trying to get out of bed the whole night. Another pt needed a transfusion and another was jumping out of bed, the haldol wasn't working to keep him in bed and the sitter with him was threatening to walk out. My "easy" patient that night only needed morphine every hour for pain. If we don't organize and push back with collective bargaining power they will continue to load on the patients. As they said in Wisconsin, Together we bargain, alone we beg.