Advocacy and Nurse-Patient Ratios
My Personal/Professional Strategies to Increase My Power
Nurses know the shortcomings affecting the health care system and what should be done to make positive changes. There have been pushes to make the necessary modifications in the health care structure through advocacy in a bid to change the regulations, laws, and policies. Thus, to have a successful advocacy, it is important to have someone who has influence, time, political will, and resources to push for the necessary changes.
As a nurse, I would make a legislator understand the vital role played by nurses in the health care system and the need to change some of the policies that complicate the system. I would prove to the legislator that the changes are necessary for the betterment of the health care system, thus making sure that the patients and potential patients have access to quality health care, which in turn will reduce the mortality rate in the hospitals. It would be important to present the legislator with reports from the states that have implemented some policies and how they have in turn changed the quality of care (Abood, 2007). I would hold meetings and use the social media platforms to educate the public on the importance of having the legislation passed and implemented that will have positive outcomes (Abood, 2007). Additionally, the nurses can have one of their own join the legislature to articulate their issues and have the unfavorable laws and policies abolished.
The policies, laws, and regulations on the health care system directly affect the nurses’ duties and hence impact the quality of service they offer to their patients. Therefore, it is important for nurses to influence the legislature to abolish some of the laws that negatively affect the services they provide (Abood, 2007). The nurses have to be strong and united in advocating for positive change in the healthcare facilities.
Legislator Information Sheet
Nurses play a vital role in the provision of health care. Therefore, it is important to have and implement state-mandated nurse staffing ratios to provide high-quality health care to patients.
- A study carried out in 2010 showed that nurses that have high patient ratios experienced high burnouts compared to those who are understaffed (Aiken et al., 2010).
- In California, the low number deaths of inpatients are highly associated with the substantial number of the nurse-patient ratio (Aiken et al., 2010).
- An increase in the number of nurses means that the patients spend enough time with the caregivers; therefore, they get more attention thus quality service (Aiken et al., 2010).
- Surgical deaths reduced drastically in the state of California since the patients and the nurses are more attentive (Aiken et al., 2010).
- A study carried out by Medicare showed that a patient is likely to spend less time in the intensive care unit if he/she spends the required time with a nurse (Aiken et al., 2010).
- Patients who require long-term care have been reported to have less medical suffering in facilities that have more nurses (AFL-CIO, 2016).
- Understaffing leads to long-working hours, hence encouraging exhaustion that leads to poor service delivery to the patient (Aiken et al., 2010).
- Nurses working in understaffed facilities have more workloads that lead to exhaustion and dissatisfaction with their jobs (AFL-CIO, 2016).
- Additionally, understaffing has been associated with poor patient outcomes and an increase in medical errors, accidental deaths, and infections.
- An increased number of nurses will positively impact on the quality of health care provided (Aiken et al., 2010).
- The patients and their families will have confidence in the public health care since they are well taken care of (Aiken et al., 2010).
- The increase in the number of nurses will reduce nurse burnouts, and hence encourage them to retain their jobs and continue serving the patients (AFL-CIO, 2016).
- The nurses will be able to monitor closely if the patient’s condition changes, a situation that will make the nurse know which step to take (AFL-CIO, 2016).
Therefore, I would recommend that the state legislature passes the law requiring the nurse to serve fewer patients in our hospitals. From the highlights above, it is evident that in states where the law has been passed and implemented, the health care services are of high quality (Kinnaird, 2016). The passage of the legislation will have positive outcomes of the patients who seek health care services from public hospitals (Aiken et al., 2010). Shortage of nurses in health facilities usually results to nurses having to work for longer hours, a situation that compromises their level of care.
However, it may be hard to determine the reduction of the number of deaths after the legislation to add more nurses in the hospital is implemented. However, there has been substantial evidence that more nurses result in quality service, while they are satisfied with their work (AFL-CIO, 2016). Additionally, understaffing of nurses is expensive since the health care facilities are required to hire part-time nurses or temporary nurses that lead to extra payments (Aiken et al., 2010). On the contrary, safe staffing does not burden the hospitals’ operational cost; in fact, they are cost effective since they do not have to hire temporary nurses whose costs increases as per discharge.
Therefore, it is beneficial to the nurses, patients, and the public if the legislation of having safe staffing is implemented. As it is evident in the state of California, adequate number of nurses in the hospitals lead to better and quality health care, thus it is vital to implement the same. Furthermore, the research has confirmed that the legislation of increasing the number of nurses in California had achieved its goals. On the other hand, the patients were satisfied with the services rendered in the health care facilities.