Set a minimum patient-nurse ratio

  1. Set a minimum patient-nurse ratio

    Monday, May 17, 2004

    A problem imposing on society today is that of shrinking hospitals, also known as the nursing shortage. This is a national issue that affects us all. With greater requirements and demands in health care partly due to people living longer, thus creating later-life illnesses and health problems, the demand for a greater number of nurses is exceedingly high.
    Right now, there are an inadequate number of nurses on each floor of the hospital to take care of an overwhelming number of patients. The nurses work countless hours that are stressful and emotionally and physically draining. It has been found that this shortage plays a factor in one-fourth of patient injuries and deaths.

    To try and reverse this problem, it has been suggested by the Institute of Medicine that nurses not work longer than 12 hours in a single day. The main hope of this intervention would be to cut down on the number of errors due to long work hours and fatigue. An alarming report, presented by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, stated that the risk of dying after surgery rose by 7 percent with each additional patient exceeding the four patients to nurse allotment. Local labor unions in New Jersey, Washington and Oregon are fighting for new laws or contracts that set minimum limits to the nurse-patient ratio.

    Unless hospital administrators dedicate their financial resources to hire more staff, elevate pay, and create a more positive and favorable workplace, this problem will continue to persist. I urge your readers to contact their public officials to support the proposed laws in helping to correct this alarming situation.

    COLLEEN PRICE
    YORK


    http://ydr.com/story/letters/25545/
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   fairyprincess2003
    Hey Colleen
    i think a main problem of burnout, which is actually a simple concept is that nurses are expected to do EVERYTHING. It is upsetting, and belittles people. I keep seeing all these proposals about hours worked, etc to do with burnout. I know this has nothing to do with how I feel about nursing. I am going to medical school for a variety of reasons. I do not think it is fair to get your education, preach nurses need to know this and that, then expect them to do RN work, CNA work, housekeeping work, etc. I don't care what anyone says, oh nurses should do that they should do all aspects of a patients care, etc. Well guess what, that is a huge reason people want to get out of nursing. I didn't have to go to school to empty the trash cans.
    Thanks for the article
  4. by   deathnurse
    Ever give report to a night shift nurse who wanted you to take out the trash before you leave?

    Ya' wonder why we have problems?
  5. by   shellfrmmo
    I would like there to be mandated laws in place in all states about the nurse/patient ratio. I am a new nurse. The other night we has 7 patients per nurse and kept getting admits- that thank goodness the charge nurse took. I think it is a patient safety issue. Also as far as burn out, long hours don't help the short staffing issue. I know a shift is labeled as 12 hours. You have to clock in 30 minutes early, you rarely get a 30 minute lunch or the 15 minute breaks. You are always there at least 13 hours. It isn't truly a 12 hour shift. That has nothing to do with time management. That is on a perfect night when everythin goes right.
    I have heard that one our Medical/Oncology unit that sometimes we have 8:1 ratio. No wonder there is burn out.
  6. by   camoflower
    I wish FOX NEWS would video Nancy New Nurse for one night with a 6 patient load....where's the bathroom breaks? where's the "its your own fault for not eating" dinner? Its the night nurses that sleep all the time they are off work...where's my day's off, wheres the MON/TUE/WED you promised me? grrrr The nicer you are to coworkers the more they expect you to help with their work/the nicer you are to your patients the more they as you to do for them - when family members in the room can do it. Believe me they'd pay a big tip to a waitress for some of the stuff I do. They don't realize how hard it is to draw up a narcotic or all the charting we do..and Part of the problem is television showing everyone sitting and talking when they aren't in the patients room..or giving report to Ms wanna know everything about the patient - past history even, doc's consults, creatine level..when the patient is an admit for " observation only"..then when she gives you report its.."the patient has D5 something or other hanging"..I have more important things to do than give you report on these two patients..gotta go..sorry"...ohh yeah 17 years burnout nurse..FOX NEWS follow me!! please!! (no it wouldn't work..she'd know exactly how to act in front of the cameras..the big BIG put on...to belittle the new grad) ...4 patients would be nice/chart audits would be done/side violence would not be as high.
  7. by   shellfrmmo
    I sit here 3 minutes and counting until I have to leave for work. I am crying my eyes out. Worked my second night shift as an RN last night 630p-730a with no break and no lunch. Why am I crying? I was so tired that I had a friend pick my kids up from school so I could sleep extra. I have to work again tonight. My husband was supposed to pick up the kids, which he is but he is late and I will not see any of my family before I go to work. I just don't think I can do this job. 7 patients, on my feet all night without breaks or lunch. I am going to go 24+ hours without seeing my family. I just want to quit. I love the job but hate everything else about what it does to me and my home life. Let's face it- you have to do your time on the floor to be able to work anywhere else. Transitioning from an LPN to an RN was the worst mistake I ever made. I have the opportunity to work PRN days for my old job but it does not give me the floor experience required. I am stuck and I feel like a prisoner. I do love the patients and my fellow employee's, I am just not cut out to run my tail off for 12 hours at night.
  8. by   camoflower
    I feel your pain, I really do. Working nights my body wants to sleep all the time and I don't feel rested. Its like I am running on adrenaline all night and then I crash. My mind replays the entire night. I check and see if I could have done things different, was my patient care satisfactory, we are required to do chart audits, I believe if I did not even take a break or eat dinner - why should I do a chart audit. I did not do any on my last shift. I hope I still have a job. I had one patient discharged and admitted another after midnight. The way the "capped out seasoned nurses" treat me (like gang lords in a prison) I regret the day I chose to "become a nurse". Mean people suck! I don't have to be told twice how to do anything but even after 7 months being a RN I run into things..epidural pumps..that I haven't ever used. How sweet it would be to have a helping hand. How nice it would be to get a report more than "he has D5 whatever...I have more important things to do"...as they walk away and I begin my night trying to catch up. Our floor has one nurse QUIT per month...its sad sad when my children, they are teens ...reply to me as I say "well, I'm going to work now..." my son says..its more like hell mom...your going to a job that is like hell. Well, it could be worse, we could be working in slaughter houses for minimum wages...pushing blood into a hole in the ground with a broom..watching cows hanging upside down...after all we make 20.00 per hour.! Corporate greed..I don't ever want to get sick and go to a hospital where they take care of 6 patients..unless they are all in one room!! As I left work the other morning a doctor was YELLING at one of our nurses "ya'll go into the patients room entirely too much!!!" she was saying...tell that to our boss, requiring us to sign in every other hour the sheet on the door in their room - good patient care!!

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