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Advocacy and Nurse-Patient Ratios


Healthcare system in the US has many flaws that require legislative change. Nurses, being the primary and most numerous practitioners of medicine, are intimately aware of the problems that get in the way of proper healthcare. This is why nurses are urged to share their experience and step into the world of policy and politics in order to help improve healthcare. As a nurse promoting healthcare policies, I would need to possess the knowledge, power, and political skills, in order to make my case viable.

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My Personal/Professional Strategies to Increase My Power

Numerous strategies could be used in order for me to increase my influence and power enough to make a difference. Some of them could be performed on an individual level. However, most of these strategies suggest a group effort.

I can attempt to reach a legislator through writing letters and making phone calls in order to get my message through (Abood, 2007). This method relies largely on the argument offered to the legislator being very persuasive, and the legislator having time to read it. Legislative officials are very busy people, so it is likely that letters and phone calls would not reach them immediately, if at all.

However, there is power in numbers. Becoming a member of a professional nurse association would provide me a group of like-minded individuals to work with. A letter written by a single person is easy to dismiss – legislative bodies receive hundreds of those daily. However, a collective petition signed by several hundred people is much harder to ignore (Abood, 2007).

Many nurse organizations are actively engaged in legislative efforts, and thus have a body of knowledge about laws and politics (Abood, 2007). If I express the desire to promote ideas to improve our healthcare system, I am certain this knowledge would be shared with me.

Lastly, after getting the support of fellow nurses, it is important to get the support of the public. The people must be made aware of the problems in our healthcare system. Through conducting informative meetings and campaigns, I would be able to attract the public to support our cause (Abood, 2007).

Legislator Information Sheet

With the advancements in medicine, health services are becoming increasingly complex and elaborate. Because of this, patient care is put in jeopardy due to incompetent staff changes driven by marketing concerns, rather than desires to promote better healthcare. Legislators in Florida are trying to push forward the Florida Hospital Patient Protection act for some time now (Nurse Unions, 2014). Here are the reasons for implementing nurse-patient ratios:

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  • Understaffing endangers nurses and patients. Without having an established nurse-patient ratio, many hospitals choose to be understaffed. This negatively reflects on the quality of healthcare for the patients (Safe-staffing ratios, 2016).
  • For every patient added to the nurse’s workload, the mortality rate increases by seven percent. Overworked nurses are unable to provide quality healthcare to the patients (Safe-staffing ratios, 2016).
  • Establishing nurse-patient ratios predicts potential requirements for nursing care depending on the patient’s illness. It makes sure that patients in need of extensive care would not be endangered by staff shortage (Aiken et al., 2010).
  • Safe staffing researches indicate that increasing the nurse-patient ratios results in lower probability of patient deaths and less time spent in the surgical units (Safe-staffing ratios, 2016).
  • Hospitals often employ part-time nursing staff to fill the gaps during a crisis. These part-timers are compensated above standard nurse pay. They bring additional strain on hospital budget (Safe-staffing ratios, 2016).
  • Establishing nurse-patient ratios will prevent burnout in nurses, which will have a good effect on the quality of patient healthcare (Aiken et al., 2010).
  • The quality of hospital care when employing part-time nurses tends to go down, at an overall efficiency decrease ranging from 5 to 15 percent (Safe-staffing ratios, 2016).
  • Nurse turnover rate brings about considerable financial losses, around 300,000 $ per hospital per year (Safe-staffing ratios, 2016).


Abood, S. (2007). Influencing healthcare in the legislative arena. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(1), Manuscript 2. Web.

Aiken, L.H., Sloane, D.M., Cimiotti, J.P., Clarke, S.P., Flynn, L., Seago, J.A., Spetz, J., & Smith, H. (2010). Implications of the California nurse staffing mandate for other states. Health Services Research 45(4), 904-921. Web.

Nurse unions continue to push for nurse-patient ratio legislation. (2014). Web.

Safe-staffing ratios: benefitting nurses and patients. (2016). Web.

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