Situation: Is This Something Than Can Be Legislated?
The nursing shortage usually causes an insufficient nurse-to-patient ratio. In turn, this tendency leads to an imbalance in healthcare workplaces. The shortage of nursing staff results in excessive workloads for the remaining nurses. Additionally, it exposes patients to various dangers inflicted by the overworked and exhausted state of nursing practitioners, a lower level of care, and an increased potential for medical errors. This problem is well-researched and has a global character. It needs fast and smart solutions in order to avoid negative consequences for nurses and their patients.
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The proposed idea presents policy according to which healthcare institutions would be obligated to disclose their level of understaffing and address their patient accommodating capacity accordingly. Practically, the major purpose of this proposition is to develop a basis for policy due to which understaffing would not have to be covered by the remaining staff thus endangering the patients and providing a low level of care. Instead, the capacity of healthcare facilities will be regulated in accordance with their disclosed staffing levels.
Background: Do Your Research
Studies, reports, personal experience, or anecdotal stories related to the proposal
The problem in question has been in place for some time. Also, it tends to affect a wide variety of healthcare organizations all around the world. The nursing shortage is a phenomenon dangerous for patients as well as the nursing staff. As indicated by the findings reflected in research studies, the nursing shortage leads to low job satisfaction among nurses and a high level of occupational stress causes turnover intention (Beltempo, Blais, Lacroix, Cabot, & Piedboeuf, 2017). Moreover, in understaffed healthcare facilities, patients tend to be exposed to a variety of risks and dangers due to the decreased level of care which negatively affects their health as well as patient experience (Martin, 2015; Shang, Stone, & Larson, 2015).
Similar legislation introduced and/or passed in other states
Back in 2015, an act was created aiming at the establishment of a higher quality of care through the monitoring of understaffing levels in healthcare organizations. The act was introduced by nurses in Michigan who advocated for the safety of their patients as well as for their own wellbeing as employees (Roth, 2017). It took a while for the act to start being reviewed. It still has not been signed into law.
Assessment: Finances and Stakeholders
Potentially, the proposed legislation could help save costs spent on hospital-acquired infections and injuries that commonly occur as results of the nursing shortage. Another potential cost-saver is the chance for organizations to avoid legal problems with patients who received a low level of care.
Stakeholder groups that would support this bill
The main groups of stakeholders for this proposal are nursing professionals who work in understaffed organizations and patients of such organizations who are at risk due to the insufficient nurse-to-patient ratio.
People/groups that would oppose this bill
Leadership of healthcare organization that refuses to disclose understaffing levels to maintain a high inflow of profit represent a group of stakeholders that is most likely to oppose the proposed change.
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An appointment with the legislator to discuss the proposal
In order for this proposal to move further and have a chance for development into law, it is necessary to make an appointment with the local legislators who share the views of this proposal and are likely to want to support it. Also, it could be helpful to go to such meeting as a group of multidisciplinary representatives and leaders.
Beltempo, M., Blais, R., Lacroix, G., Cabot, M., & Piedboeuf, B. (2017). Association of nursing overtime, nurse staffing, and unit occupancy with health care-associated infections in the NICU. American Journal of Perinatology, 34(10), 996-1002.
Martin, C. J. (2015). The effects of nurse staffing on quality of care. MEDSURG Nursing, 24(2), S4-S6.
Roth, C. (2017). Nurses rally on Capitol for Safe Patient Care Act. Web.
Shang, J., Stone, P., & Larson, E. (2015). Studies on nurse staffing and health care-associated infection: Methodologic challenges and potential solutions. American Journal of Infection Control, 43(6), 581-588.