14 September 2012 Abstract The purpose of this paper is to inform those who may be unaware of the problem of low nurse to patient ratios and how to correct it. Many patients suffer due to understaffed nurses. Not only does the patient suffer, the nurse does as well. A patient faces a higher chance of having pneumonia and it being unnoticed and untreated, due to the fact that a nurse has so many patients to care for all at once. Quite a few nurses become burnt out due to working an abundant amount of hours at a time, even become dissatisfied with working as a nurse.
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In order to prevent low patient to nurse ratios there should be maximum of four patients to one nurse. The issue of low nurse to patient ratios needs to be corrected in order to prevent chaos in the nursing field. Low Nurse to Patient Ratios Correction A recent issue in the nursing field has become extremely prevalent in the past decade. Low nurse to patient ratios have been linked to putting patients in danger. Not only do the low ratios affect the patient, they have added stress up on the nurse as well. An abundant amount of Nurses become burnt out.
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Working long hours filled with hard labor have caused nurses to become fatigue and overworked. Nurses no longer want to work in the nursing field any more due to circumstances. This issue needs to be corrected in order to prevent putting patients and nurses as well in danger. Low nurse to patient ratios can be corrected by having a maximum of 4 patients at once. This number of patients is ethical and is not costly. When a nurse has a large amount of patients things that can be easily noticed go unnoticed. If there is a low nurse to patient ratio, a nurse may very well overlook little signs that can lead to a diagnosis.
Due to low nurse to patient ratios a patient faces a higher chance of obtaining pneumonia. Once the patient has pneumonia in many cases it goes undetected. As a result of the viral infection not being detected is goes untreated. An increase in nurse patient ratio shows a 9. 5 percent decrease in the odds of a patient getting pneumonia (Stanton). If a nurse had more time with a single patient the viral infection could be easily recognized and treated. A patient dying under the care of a nurse is a very big issue. As an effect of low staffed urses an abundant amount of patients face a seven percent increase in the probability of dying within 30 days of admission to a hospital (“Hospital Nurse …”). They also are up against a seven percent chance of a nurse failing to rescue (“Hospital Nurse... ”). Not only does the low nurse to patient ratios affect the patient but the nurse as well. A nurse’s day is full of tedious tasks. A nurse works extremely hard during the time they are on the floor working. After working extremely hard for a 12 hour shift with multiple patients a person is over worked.
As a result of doing this day after day, a person becomes burnt out. Forty-three percent of nurses had high burnout scores (Schwenk). Other than a nurse becoming burnt out, a nurse may also become dissatisfied with the nursing field. A nurse is typically passing out medications and providing direct care a patient, but in most cases ends up going outside of the responsibilities described in their job description. A nurse ends up performing duties of those that are to be done by a certified nursing assistant or licensed practical nurse due to the fact that there is a high amount of patients all at once.
Since the nurse is doing many other jobs they ultimately feel as though they no longer want to work as a nurse. With each additional patient, a nurse faces a 15 percent increase in the chances of becoming dissatisfied as working as a nurse. Forty-three percent of nurses had low job-satisfaction scores (Schwenk). To prevent nurses from becoming dissatisfied with this field, there needs to be a law mandating that a nurse is to only have 4 patients to care for. In each and every facility where a nurse is employed, the mandatory nurse to patient ratio should be four patients to one nurse.
This ratio is reasonably cost efficient. According to research done by Thomas Schwenk, if the amount of patients were to be increased, from four patients to one nurse, to any number up to eight patients would result in five deaths per one thousand patients. The ratio of four patients to one nurse is an ethical ratio. Once a minimum of four patients to one nurse is mandated in all states of America, patients will no longer have to worry about receiving adequate health care. Nurses will no longer become dissatisfied as working as a nurse.
When the number of patients a nurse has is lowered, a nurse will only complete what it is that a nurse is required to do, instead of performing the duties of a nursing assistant. A nurse will not be burnt out after a shift, due to the fact that they will only be responsible for giving care to four patients. Works Cited Aiken LH, Clarke SP, Sloane DM, Sochalski J, Silber JH. “Hospital Nurse Staffing and Patient Mortality, Nurse Burnout, and Job Dissatisfaction. ” JAMA, 30 October 2002. Web. 1 September 2012. Stanton M. A. , Mark. ”Hospital Nurse Staffing and Quality of Care. ” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Web. 1 September 2012. Schwenk MD, Thomas. “Low Nurse Staffing Ratios, Patient Safety, and Nurse Burnout. ” Journal Watch Specialties, 8 November 2002. Web. 7 September 2012. Annotated Bibliography Aiken LH, Clarke SP, Sloane DM, Sochalski J, Silber JH. “Hospital Nurse Staffing and Patient Mortality, Nurse Burnout, and Job Dissatisfaction. ” JAMA, 30 October 2002. Web. 1 September 2012. The article basically discusses low patient to nurse ratios. This problem has become extremely prevalent in the past decade. It goes into detail on how it affects the nurse and patient as well.
Research done by the authors of this article show that each additional patient a nurse has brings on a 23 percent increase in the odds of a burn out and 15 percent increase in job dissatisfaction. In many cases the nurse becomes burnt out, due to all of the work and time put in. As an effect of low staffed nurses an abundant amount of patients face a seven percent increase in the probability of dying within 30 days of admission to a hospital. They also are up against a seven percent chance of a nurse failing to rescue. Stanton M. A. , Mark. ”Hospital Nurse Staffing and Quality of Care. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Web. 1 September 2012. This article written by Mark Stanton goes into fixing the low patient to nurse ratios and as well some of the effects. The article goes over nurses becoming burnt out and dissatisfied with working as a nurse. Studies done by the AHRQ brings the effect of low staffed nurses and the higher chances of patients getting pneumonia. An increase in RN patient ratio shows a 9. 5 percent decrease in getting pneumonia. If a nurse had more time with a single patient it could be easily recognized and treated. Welton PhD RN, John. Mandatory Hospital Nurse to Patient Staffing Ratios: Time to Take a Different Approach. ” The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 30 September 2007. Web. 1 September 2012. This article discusses an alternative way to help with low nurse to patient ratios. Instead of having a mandatory nurse to patient staffing ratio, simply charge patients based on the care they were given. It goes into arguing the alternative solution. The option is cost efficient. This option decreases the chances of a nurse becoming burnt out because a nurse does not work as many hours. It also rules out the chances of job dissatisfaction.
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