AbstractAn article appeared in the Tuscaloosa News (May 26, 2008) this morning discussing how hospitals in California are now safer places because California has legislated that a nurse patient ratio of 1 to 5 must be maintained on busy medical/surgical wards. Not only did the report imply that patients were safer, it also indicated that staff satisfaction was higher leading to less burnout.
Apparently nurses in 13 other states-Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas are lobbying for California-style safe staffing bills. Unfortunately, the hospital industry according to this article is strongly opposed to much needed health care reform.
Certainly, the improved nurse patient ratios enhance the safety and well being of the patients especially in acute care settings. A series of reports published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on quality and health care has certainly highlighted the need for enhancing patient safety.
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