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Nurse staffing is a complex issue with no quick solution. A literature review concluded that support, not regulation, is needed for safe nurse– patient ratios (American Nurses Association, 2020). There are many variables that affect staffing decisions and Registered Nurses can take an active role in determining the best staffing ratio to promote patient safety and decrease burnout. When RN staffing is increased, there are significant improvements in patient mortality following a medical or surgical complication. Data shows a decrease in pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, and sepsis with better nurse patient ratios. Higher staffing is also linked to shorter lengths of stay, fewer falls and fewer medication errors (American Nurses Association, 2020).

ANA supports a legislative model to staffing in which nurses are empowered to create staffing plans specific to each unit. This approach aids in establishing staffing levels that are flexible and account for changes including: intensity of patient’s needs, the number of admissions, discharges, and transfers during a shift, the level of experience of nursing staff, and the layout of the unit (this one is very important because my hospital layout is very old and PIXIS rooms were an after thought. We often have to gather meds from 3 med rooms for one patient — very disheartening when you are on one particularly long hall).

Organizations need to be held accountable for their operations–these days the google reviews are just one of the helpful ways to hold facilities accountable.

American Nurses Association. (2020). Safe Staffing Literature Review. Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nurse…

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