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USA Today: Cutting Nurses' Patient Loads Boosts Care, Costs

Nurses   (628 Views | 0 Replies)

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The reporter who wrote the article was also just talking about ratios on MSNBC. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Even as other states consider similar laws, a deep divide remains between supporters and detractors of the law in California. Passed in response to criticism from nurses that a decade of cost cutting by hospitals was forcing nurses to care for more patients than they could safely handle, the law was opposed by many in the hospital industry.

Similar proposals, backed by nurses unions, are being debated in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Congress may get into the act as well. Two bills have been introduced: One sets specific numerical ratios for hospitals; the other calls for individual hospitals to work with their nurses to develop their own staffing ratios.

Debate over requiring hospitals to have a minimum number of nurses comes as costs rise rapidly, hospitals face a nursing shortage and pressure grows to improve quality. It also comes amid growing evidence that patient care improves when nurses have fewer patients.

"If you don't have an adequate number of nurses, patients suffer and die," says Kathleen Ann Long, dean of the University of Florida college of nursing and past president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

But just what an adequate number is-and how to achieve it-remains controversial."


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