When Legislation Becomes Nurse Advocacy
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Session presented on Friday, September 26, 2014: As a nursing student I have been able to work side-by-side with the most amazing nurses. The one thing I noted during my clinical experience is that hospitals are minimally staffing their units, and leaving the nurses on the floor with a high patient workload. The staffing crisis is an issue that needs advocacy. In this sense, I would like to become an active member of my profession through my states nurses association and states law policy makers. Therefore, it is my intention to illustrate in this poster presentation the current hospitals staffing crisis and propose practical solutions. Undoubtedly, high nurse-patient ratios are unsafe representing a problem associated with a significant decrease in healthcare quality such as increased mortality, complications and medical errors (Artz, 2005). Founded on the seriousness of this problem affecting safe delivery of care and healthcare quality, the state of California in 2004 after 12 years of intense debate passed a law that regulates nurse- patient ratios. Some of the safe ratios passed in the state of California under the safe staffing RN ratio law are medical/surgical unit 1:4, Telemetry 1:3, Stepdown 1:3, Post Anesthesia 1:2, and Rehabilitation 1:5. Founded on best evidence based practice, other states passed this law empowering and upholding nurses accountable for decision making and as professionals who provide high quality patient care. Other states where this law has become effective are: Connecticut, Illinois, Minessota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Rode Island, Vermont and Washington. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the importance of nurse-patient ratios regulation and the impact of this regulation on patients safety and quality of care. Thus, statistical data will be collected from literature review to compare quality of care based in variables such as pressure ulcers, medication errors and longer hospital stay due to nosocomial acquired infections. The comparison will be established between the states that passed the law and the states that have not passed the law yet. Finally, this project will make the case to demonstrate the impact on healthcare outcomes when appropriate policies and laws are implemented in the regulation of nursing profession.