Iowa mandating nurse to patient ratios
A 2017 study published in the found that higher nurse staffing ratios were tied to decreased survival likelihood.The analysis of 845 patients found that patients were 95 percent more likely to survive when nurses followed a hospital-mandated patient-nurse ratio.What with hospital downsizing, budget cuts, and a nursing shortage in the United States, it’s no wonder that an American Nurses Association survey found that 54% of their nurse respondents didn’t have sufficient time to spend on each patient. The past two decades have seen overcrowding and understaffing that has led to longer hours and more stressful shifts for nurses, and as a result, higher burnout rates and lower retention rates.To combat this serious problem, in 2004, California became the first state to implement a law requiring all of its hospitals to limit the number of patients its nurses could treat at any given time. Since then, many other states have been looking to follow suit, or at least regulate staffing ratios more closely, so it’s crucial to study not only the specific benefits of such laws, but also the detriments they can pose.“Many community hospitals will not be able to absorb the added cost and will be forced to close.” READ MORE: Nurse Communication, Teamwork to Boost Care Experience Scores What are the pros and cons of nurse staffing ratio mandates?And what are the implications for this rule across the country?
As healthcare needs morph in this constantly shifting political, economic, and social climate, finding ways to provide better care for both nurses and patients will always be a relevant discussion.“The data suggest that a one-size-fits-all statewide implementation will be a costly and poor allocation of resources, leading to greater inequity in the provision of care, less local access to healthcare, and reduced patient choice,” the report found.“Furthermore, hospitals may be forced to hire less experienced and educated RNs, which would likely offset any quality and safety improvements that the proposal’s sponsors believe would follow from MNSR adoption.” MHA and the Coalition to Protect Patient Safety both state that there is little evidence that proposed nurse staffing ratios will impact patient care quality, asserting that data on the matter is limited and inconclusive.“This has been a long time coming, and nurses have been advocating for a YES for patient safety for decades,” Donna Kelly-Williams, RN at the Cambridge Hospital Birth Center and President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, said in a statement announcing the ballot question.
“As an active bedside nurse, I see it every day on the hospital floor and I hear it every day from my colleagues across the state.
The ballot question will also provide flexibility for hospitals that have unique patient needs, leaving ultimate decisions for enforced ratios up to the judgement of the nurse providing patient care, said the Massachusetts Nurses Association, one of the ballot questions primary proponents.