The Practice Concern That I Have Chosen To Discuss Is Safe Staffing

This is Discussion:

The practice concern that I have chosen to discuss is safe staffing. Currently, only certain states have safe staffing laws in place and I believe these laws should be passed nationally. In 2004, California passed its safe staffing law that enforced a nurse to patient ratio. After the law was passed it was discovered that patients in those hospitals were receiving three hours more worth of care than those in states without these laws (Furillo, 2014, pg.1). Many also feared that passing these laws would cost the hospital too much money in staffing and force them to close, when in fact the hospital’s income rose since less medical errors were made and the rate of readmission declined. (Furillo, 2014, pg 1.). The driving force behind getting this law passed would be to reduce nurse burnout, decrease the turnover rate and to decrease medical mistakes and readmission. I believe that since this law has had such a fantastic impact in California it could be beneficial in every state.

In my busy New York City hospital, we are currently understaffed and constantly have nurses leaving because of burnout. We also see many nurses starting to hate their jobs because they are overloaded and that is something I never want to feel. The New York Nurses Association is fighting every day to get a law like this passed based on the fact that “ratios can make a difference. Hospitals with higher nurse staffing levels had a 25 percent lower odds of Medicare readmission penalties (Furillo, 2014, pg 1.)” This law would be beneficial to the cost, quality and access to healthcare.

It is unfortunate to see hospitals cutting down on their staffing due to budgets. Currently in my hospital is trying to become Magnet. To be Magnet the hospital must demonstrate exemplary professional practice, which can only be achieved with safe staffing in place (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2011). Our current nurse to patient ratio tends to be 1:5, which is very unsafe on a pediatric medical-surgical unit. The hospital is working to increase staffing so that there will always be a ratio of 1:4. Even though this is something my hospital is working on, it is not New York State law to have patient ratios.

“In 2007 the Child Health Corporation of America in association with the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) and Medical Management Planning/BENCHmarking Effort for Networking Children’s Hospitals found that increased nurse staffing was associated with improved patient/family experience with care and a reduced incidence of adverse outcomes (Allen, 2012, pg 598).”  Even though safe staffing should be a topic of all units, on pediatric units children require closer supervision when there is no adult present, they also do not have a say in their care and will not ask what medication is being given to make sure it is the right one and medication is weight based making the administration more complicated (Allen, 2012, pg 598).

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