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Mandatory Minimum Staffing Ratios
The American Nurses Association provides the ideal evidence-based nursing policy, practices, services, nursing support and professional development to make sure the staffing of nurses is safe and change the delivery of health care. The three recommended approaches by ANA entails requiring health care centers and hospitals to implement a nurse driven personnel committee that develop effective staffing plans that match the needs of patients’ population as well as the nursing skills and experience e of the personnel. The second approach requires the lawmakers to make it mandatory for hospitals to maintain a specific nurse to patient ratio which must be complied to. A third approach requires the healthcare centers to disclose to the public or the compliance body on matters concerning the staffing levels (American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2017).
ANA provides support to a legislative approach where nurses have the power to develop staffing plans that corresponds to needs each unit. This model enables the establishment of flexible staffing levels and account for changes that may include the level of nursing staff experience, the blueprint of the nursing unit, the level of patient’s needs and the availability of resources. The changes also include the number of patient admissions, patient discharges, and patient transfers made within a shift. Also, developing a minimum adjustable staffing levels in the compliance laws helps the committee in realizing proper staffing plans.
The Ideal staffing is necessary in the provision of professional nursing value. Most of the existing staffing systems for nurses are outdated and inflexible. Implementing staffing models with the recommended nurse-to-patient ratios and can be adjusted to accommodate unit and shift level aspects can provide great benefits. Elements that affect the needs for nurse staffing may include the complexity and stability of patients as well as the easy access to technological support.
Research shows that proper nurse staffing helps in the accomplishment of clinical and economic enhancements on patient care as well as boosting patient satisfaction and health-related quality of life. This translates to a reduction in errors on nursing and medication, decrease in the mortality rate of patients, reduced patient readmissions and decreased duration of stay. Also, a proper nurse staffing ratio reduces the costs associated with patient care by avoiding unplanned patient readmissions. It promotes nursing safety, retention of nurses, increase job satisfaction and thus avoid nurse fatigue. This ultimately contributes to better patient care (Braithwaite, Matsuyama, Mannion, & Johnson, 2015).
Both proponents and critics concur that proper nurse staffing directly relates to enhanced patient outcomes. Heightened emphasis on value-based care as well as ideal nurse staffing is necessary in providing high-quality and cost-effective nursing care. The execution of a legislative approach will assist in setting the fundamental staffing standards, and promote transparency of nursing activities via reporting to the public and imposing fines on nursing institutions that fail to meet the stated compliance regulations.
American Nurses Credentialing Center, (2017). 2019 Magnet Application Manual. Silver Spring, Md. American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Braithwaite, J., Matsuyama, Y., Mannion, R., & Johnson, J. K. (2015). Healthcare reform, quality and safety: Perspectives, participants, partnerships, and prospects in 30 countries. Burlington, VT: Ashgate
Rafferty, A. M., Busse, R., Zander-Jentsch, B., Sermeus, W., Bruyneel, L., European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies & World Health Organization. (2019). Strengthening health systems through nursing: Evidence from 14 European countries. Copenhagen, Denmark: WHO Regional Office for Europe.