What do you think will happen if we actually achieve truly safe staffing ratios?

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At my nursing school, I saw a poster pushing for safer nurse/patient ratios. I can't remember all of the details, but I remember a call for Med/Surg ratios of 1:4, ICU of 1:1, step down of 1:3.

I think that in an ideal world, this would be great. I think burnout would happen less often and that patients would be safer. But this is a greedy world, and I can't help but think that if hospitals had to staff with these ratios in mind, nurse pay would decrease and less nursing assistive personnel would be hired, meaning nurses would possibly be paid less to handle more.

What do you think?

Specializes in IMCU, Oncology. Has 3 years experience.

Employee retention, less medical errors, better infection control, less pressure ulcers, faster recovery times, etc...

At my nursing school, I saw a poster pushing for safer nurse/patient ratios. I can't remember all of the details, but I remember a call for Med/Surg ratios of 1:4, ICU of 1:1, step down of 1:3.

I think that in an ideal world, this would be great. I think burnout would happen less often and that patients would be safer. But this is a greedy world, and I can't help but think that if hospitals had to staff with these ratios in mind, nurse pay would decrease and less nursing assistive personnel would be hired, meaning nurses would possibly be paid less to handle more.

What do you think?

Someone has to pay for the increased staff or the staff has to be paid less.

Despite popular belief, hospitals only operate on a 2-4% profit margin which is in line with grocery stores.

It is possible to get to the staffing ratios you posted, many hospitals do for select units, but it is generally at the cost of ancillary staff, increased patient costs, etc.

If you are talking about a universal ideal staffing ratio the costs would be very high but feasible. When you are talking universal however and budgets the debate changes and the current movement is away from care interventions to preventative interventions.

For this reason I am very skeptical you will see universal ideal staffing anytime in the near due to the severe lack of preventative interventions which are far more cost effective.

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience.

I probably wouldn't know what to do with myself with all that extra time. :|

I probably wouldn't know what to do with myself with all that extra time. :|

Don't worry, your time would be filled with all the odds and ends tasks that ancillary staff assists would normally have assisted with and all the little customer service orientated things hospitals like such as making post admission phone calls.

For you, better staffing will not mean less work lol.

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience.
Don't worry, your time would be filled with all the odds and ends tasks that ancillary staff assists would normally have assisted with and all the little customer service orientated things hospitals like such as making post admission phone calls.

For you, better staffing will not mean less work lol.

HAHAHA I already know this is true. I worked at a hospital with good ratios in the ER, it was shocking to me and nice and the best ratios I had worked with.

But times when we hadn't picked up yet, it seemed like the techs felt like they didn't need to work. Always the same ones of course. But they would be like (she has an empty room she doesn't need help). I was used to doing everything myself anyway but the principle of it drove me nuts. I was the type of nurse that when I went and grabbed a pt from the waiting room the first thing I did was walk them to the bathroom to get a urine sample anyway so I didn't have to wait and I always liked doing my own EKG's when I could.

One place I was at when things calmed down on night shift, the nurses worked amazing together. Our scrub colors were black and we looked like a pack of ninjas. New pt. taken to the room. 3-4 of us went in. 2 mins later we all walked out and the patient was completely worked up.

Specializes in MICU.

California seems to be working out pretty well with some of the highest salaries in the country.

nrsang97, BSN, RN

2,602 Posts

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 22 years experience.

josh,

Cali also has a high cost of living compared to most of the country as well.

klone, MSN, RN

14,406 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.
California seems to be working out pretty well with some of the highest salaries in the country.

I would love to know what an average California hospital unit's productivity index is.

Do California hospitals charge more/get reimbursed more for services? Something's got to give there - you can't decrease ratios without making changes elsewhere - either all California hospitals are running in the red, or they have to charge more for their services there.

quazar

603 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

Well, since money is what makes the people at the top listen, speak in terms of dollars and cents that they understand. Like fines and lack of reimbursement for readmissions within 30 days of discharge. Or CAUTIs. Or all those other nasty little things that happen that make CMS charge fines and not pay reimbursment fees. Stuff like that. CMS: The 2,225 hospitals that will pay readmissions penalties next year | The Advisory Board Daily Briefing

Increased staffing definitively decreases all of those little fees, and in turn, actually decreases costs. It's all in how you want to pay for it: up front with staffing, or on the back end in penalties and missed fees. Study: Increased nurse staffing decreases costs | Healthcare Finance News

Better Nurse Staffing Shown to Reduce Readmission Penalties

Two Recent Studies Reveal Factors Leading to Readmissions – The Sentinel Watch

So, yeah, if it's money we're talking as their chief concern (which, let's be real, it is...) then increased staffing should be at the top of their list.

CecileSF

98 Posts

Would be nice to get rid of 12 hr shifts where it is so busy where I don't get a lunch or break.

oldandintheway

81 Posts

Specializes in ED. Has 10 years experience.

California is a very large state, cost of living varies considerably