According to Alexandra Robbins’ recent op-ed article by The New York Times, studies have found that the more patients assigned to a nurse, the higher the patients’ risk of death, infections, complications, falls, failure-to-rescue rates and readmission to the hospital — and the longer their hospital stay.
Data collected from a recent survey of nurses sponsored by The Massachusetts Nurses Association, resulted in:* 25 percent saying understaffing was directly responsible for patients deaths* 50 percent blaming understaffing for harm or injury to patients* 85 percent stating that patient care is suffering because of the high numbers of patients assigned to each nurse
While some nurses are well aware of these problems, many hospital administrators have conflicting views. Experts believe administrators assume these studies do not apply to them and place fault on individuals, not the system, for negative outcomes.
In terms of addressing these problems, we need to push for change. Pamela F. Cipriano, president of the American Nurses Association, states that the ANA supports the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act, which requires hospitals with the input of beside nurses, to establish nurse staffing plans for each care unit and nursing shift, based on ever-changing patient needs. This should help improve patient outcome, keep nurses at beside and help maintain a safer work environment.
By not providing the appropriate amount of nurses or enforcing proper qualifications, you increase the risk of medical errors, underperforming staff, longer hospital stays, patient readmissions and death.
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