Nurses’unions have been engaged in lobbying for legislation seeking theimplementation of nurse-patient ratios. Florida is not an exceptionalcase because Florida Hospital Protection Act has become introduced inthe state since 2009. Most hospitals under-staff their units, whichdeny patients access to safe and effective care (Suzanne et al.,2012). In some cases, hospitals have considered having a limitednumber of nurses in an attempt to increase their profits. However,this has resulted in poor patient satisfaction. The unions of nursesassert that lower patient to nurse ratios is of immense importancebecause they aid in improving the quality of care provided topatients and help in decreasing the mortality rate. Apart from this,lower patient to nurse ratio help in preventing nurse burn out aswell as reducing medical and medication errors (Vincent, 2010). TheChief aim of this assignment is to write a proposal whose goal is toreduce the nurse to patient ratio 5:1 so as to ensure safe andeffective care as well as aid in reducing nurse burnout in the stateof Florida.
Ithas been a concern for health care providers for the patient to nurseratio that is currently making nurses become exhausted because of thelarge number of patients that one nurse is serving. This issue hasbeen presented before the House for consideration, but it has notpassed. Also, of concern is the quality of care that patients arereceiving. The nurses’ union has noted that, because of the highpatient to nurse ratio, patients are not obtaining safe and effectivecare.
Asa concerned nurse, there is a need to reduce the patient to nurseratio. In Florida, different stakeholders in the health care unithave been trying to advocate for a reduction in nurse to patientratio. The introduction of Florida Hospital Patient Protection Act isan example of law that has been discussed in the legislature everyyear since 2009. Under the Florida Hospital Patient Protection Actfiled in 2014, the patient to nurse ratio was to change from fivepatients to one registered nurse in the skilled nursing andrehabilitation units to one patient per every registered nurse forpatients that are in active labor, in trauma emergency unit,receiving conscious sedation, or operating room unit.
Sincethe legislation that would support a reduction in patient to nurseratio has not been passed in Florida and given the scenario statedabove facing patients and nurses, I propose to have a law that wouldsee the patient nurse ratio reduce to 5:1.
Theproposal has been proved to work in other states such as California,where a legislation setting up the nurse to patient ratio in everyunit of a healthcare facility has been implemented. This is anindication that the proposal can also work in case it becomes adoptedin Florida.
Thereare different merits that are likely to emerge by passing thisproposal. One of the merits that would result by passing the proposalof reducing the patient to nurse ration to 5:1 entails a decrease inpatient complications. Because of the high patient to nurse ratio, itis evident that the number of patient complications have increased.There are increased cases of patient complications as a result nursesnot being in a position to serve a large number of patients. Reducingthe patient to nurse ratio would aid nurses to serve patients fastand avoid complications. Another merit that would emanate fromreducing the patient to nurse ratio would entail the enhancement ofpatient satisfaction. A reduced patient to nurse ratio would improvepatient satisfaction since one nurse is likely to have few number ofpatients that he/she can attend to this implies increased patientsatisfaction because a patient would not be required to wait for longbefore being attended to by a nurse. Besides, through reducing thepatient to nurse ratio to 5:1 would be of vast benefit since it wouldhelp in decreasing nurse burnout as well as reduce nurse fatigue. Byserving a large number of patients, nurses are likely to getexhausted, which may affect the manner in which nurses carry outtheir duty. However, through reducing patient to nurse ratio, nurseswould be capable of working at their optimum (Vincent, 2010). This isbecause nurses would not be exhausted a move that would not affecttheir delivery.
Also,through attending to a small number of patients, nurses would be in aposition to deliver at their optimum since they would be motivated towork since they are not fatigued. Furthermore, a reduction in thepatient to nurse ratio would be of immense benefit because it wouldaid in providing effective and safe care. Because of the high patientto nurse ratio, nurses are not in a position to provide effective andsafe care. This has resulted in increased mortality rate since nursesare not capable of providing the high number of patients witheffective care. Nevertheless, with the reduced patient to nurseratio, nurses would be capable of providing patients with effectiveand safe care a move that would aid in decreasing mortality. Attimes, nurses have not been in a position to attend to a high numberof patients that have emergency cases, but with the reduced patientto nurse ratio, nurses would capable of attending to high number ofemergency cases thus eliminating some deaths that emanate from highpatient to nurse ratio (Suzanne et al., 2012).
Assessment:Finances and Stakeholders
Reducingthe ratio of patient to nurse to 5:1 can be considered to havefinancial impact. A reduced ratio of patient to nurse of 5:1 wouldimply increasing the number of nurses that serve patients, whichwould further imply that an extra cost is required for hiring morenurses. However, this additional cost of hiring more staff would beoffset by reduced ward cost due the reduced number of patients tostay in wards. Besides, an increased number of staff would imply areduction in the cost emanating from medical errors. Therefore, thefinancial cost of meeting the patient to nurse ratio would be offsetat long run. The likely stakeholder groups that would support theproposed bill would be health care professional groups as well asother groups advocating for better patient care. On the other hand,people that would oppose the bill would include state legislaturesthat do not understand the importance of the bill and legislaturesthat deem that the proposal may have an incremental cost.
Iwould recommend having a meeting with the state legislator in orderto discuss this proposal. Given an appointment, I would makeeverything concerning the proposal clear to the state legislature inorder to be in a position to put the concern before the house.
Suzanne,G., John, B. & Tanya, B. (2012). Safetyin Numbers: Nurse-to-Patient Ratios and the Future of Health Care.Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Vincent,C. (2010). PatientSafety.New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.