I commend your professer for having his/her nursing students take part in this very worthwhile assignment!
When you go before your state senators, DO the nursing profession justice by NOT just mentioning "numbers" when talking about "safe staffing ratios". DO emphasize the necessity to keep those staffing ratios flexible based on needs of the patients being considered. It only takes one patient going sour, or one patient to tie up a nurse for various reasons to send those "numbers" crashing...rendering them meaningless in reality, no matter what's on paper.
On Med/Surg, it should be mandatory to have NO MORE THAN five per nurse, BASING THAT RATIO on the ACTUAL acuity level of each patient...not based on acuity levels we do today with such a broad range for "Acuity Level III" stats we have today...which makes MOST med/surg patients "fall into that level III category" which most Med/Surg Nurses know is hogwash. :icon_roll
It should be mandated to have one nurse per every three to four patients on inpatient units at all times...even on evenings and nightshifts. Patients are sicker today than ever before. Patients take up much more time than ever before thanks to the "the patient is always right rule" and "the patient calls, the nurse jumps YESTERDAY" rule, then add the "Visitors can stay 24/7 rule, and wait on them to keep the entire clan happy" rule.
In order to offer excellent service -- minimizing patient wait times, visitor/family/patient complaints, and patients need to have their nurse more up close and personal.........more...not less...nurses per patient are needed. Does that cost money? Absolutely! Hospital Owners/CEOs know that BEFORE going into healthcare businesses, so the pressure needs to start at the top before the hospital is even built and opened for business. They want to make money and stay afloat? Do it right from the planning stage, and not take it out at the cost of the patients and the staff that care for those patients. Patients equal dollar signs to healthcare business industry folk, BUT...to nurses......patients-R-our-business...we expect to give them the best care...not half-azz backwards care.