Think about that . . . as nurses we are more trusted than:
Considering, as nurses, we are also one of the largest workforce groups in America, it seems . . . crazy . . . that our responsibilities, charting, patient ratios continue to go up while training continues to decline.
What are Nurse to Patient Ratios?
Basically what this refers to is number of patients any one nurse can take care of during a shift.
Depending on the type of unit you work on this can vary, as it should, as a nurse in a Pediatric ICU will not be able to provide safe care to as many patients as a nurse on a geriatric unit.
But here is where it gets . . . crazy.
There are no federally mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.
What does this mean?
It means that while hospitals and Boards of Nursing can “suggest” “safe” ratios . . . in the end, the hospital can give you as many patients as they want when you show up to work. Or, they can keep giving you new admissions during you shift.
The issue has gotten so bad and become so ingrained in nursing culture that many nurses accept it as a “part of the job”. In fact, GomerBlog recently release a satirical post regarding a fictions hospital CEO who raised Patient:Nurse ratios to 10:1 and the social media world exploded as many nurses accepted it as reality.
Research study after research study has indicated the dangers in poor staffing:
Research has shown that by reducing the number of nurses, patient outcomes deteriorate and length of stay increases. Curtailing nurse staffing levels can also lead to poor staff morale, nurse retention and recruitment problems and malpractice suits, which can raise costs far above the expense of employing more nurses. By reducing nurse to patient ratios, that is, by reducing the number of patients (see nurse to patient ratio box opposite), it is probable that patient care will improve along with patient satisfaction, poor morale will dissipate, fewer lawsuits will be filed and agency nurse use will decrease, all of which will help to reduce hospital costs in the long term.
In hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios, surgical patients experience higher risk-adjusted 30-day mortality and failure-to-rescue rates, and nurses are more likely to experience burnout and job dissatisfaction.