Nurse To Patient Ratios, comment

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It is true that the nurse to patient ratio is not fare to nurses or patients. But how about the fact that nurses are called off when the census goes down and there is not enough patient per nurse? The same nurse has to take off when census is down and use her/his PDO, which was earned over a period with hard work.

My question is why not let the same nurse work with less pt that day or that night and give the nurse a chance to catch her breath for those busy time that she even did not have time to take a lunch break or go to the bathroom in 8 or 12 hrs shifts? Why don’t make them educate the nursing assistants that they are there to help and make them CNA (certified nursing assistance)? Why the same nurse who had 8 to 10 patient can not work on the days the census is down? Why should the ratio be 2:1 in ICU which was the case in two local hospitals I have worked, but in step-down the ratio is 1 nurse to 5 pts. In step down unit if the censes goes down and ratio become 2 to 3 patient a nurse will be cancel and are called extra nurses. In my humble opinion as an experienced nurse, it is not important how much less patients you have it is the acuity that is important. Nurses are dealing with the person’s life. Patients and nurses are humans they not object. Hospitals and care organizations are 24/7 they are not a department store that open and closes in certain hours, they can not tell the patient sorry we are going to close in ½ hr you should not have chest pain now, you have to wait, nursing is a matter of life and death and they should be treated as partners in this endeavor.

This practice causes nurses to move around for more equitable pay, and leaving their own place where the patients need them, which has given rise to nursing shortage, but with more traveling and agency nursing for temporary assignments. Another drawback to this is that local nurses who take care of patients with the same standard are unhappy because they are working under the same condition with the same patient ratio and getting paid less. There seems to be no justification to make nurses satisfied as far as these issues are not solved. May be some of the hospitals should reduce the
manager to nurse ratio and not waist nursing staff to management so much. Let nurses do nursing job and take care of patients not spend long hours in meetings and unnecessary paper work. Of course patients deserve best and safe care no matter where they are with justified and fair patient to nurse
ratio.

Original Post:
September 19, 2007
There are 2 distinct sides to one of the most controversial dilemmas facing nurses today. First, the patients deserve to have better care from their nurses who don’t already have 9 other patients to take care of. If a nurse is responsible for 8-10 patients on a typical med-surg floor how can they be expected to provide the best possible care, or even just the standard of care? The more you spread a nurse out the less attention one single patient is going to receive. This puts them at greater risk for nosocomial infections, medication errors, incorrect or omitted assessments, the list could goes on. Even if a super nurse is able to accomplish this inhuman standard in their occupation what harm will be done to the nurse? A nurse, the backbone of the medical industry, does not deserve to be worked like a dog, to put these kinds of physical and mental demands that ultimately will harm their ability to take care of themselves and their patients. A standard in setting how many patients a nurse can be assigned to is a top priority for are already overworked nurse workforce.
Of course, you have valid arguments provided by hospital administrators and government agencies, but they are not strong enough arguments to persuade this nurse to think any different. The costs are too high, there aren’t enough nurses to staff this way. This is the mentality the non-nurses elect to have. If there are not enough nurses to staff a set ratio then it just supports the fact that nurses should be respected and not overworked to the point where they have to quit nursing. When aspiring nurses see how very little the hospital administrators actually care for their then the smart ones will choose another field and only add to the nursing shortage. The costs are high now because of law suits and problems that arise from not having a healthy ratio standard in place. By reducing errors caused now by not staffing patients well should reduce the unexpected costs that hospitals have to eat on a regular basis.
Really when it comes right down to it the golden rule should be considered by all. Would you want to be just another vulnerable patient that is one of 10 total care patients that the same nurse has to juggle?

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