Advocacy and Nurse-Patient Ratios

My Personal/Professional Strategies to Increase My Power

A number of different strategies are required to influence the legislature of the healthcare and nursing effectively. According to Abood (2007), these strategies include entering the legislative arena, understanding the steps of the legislative process, knowing the key players, understanding committees, and communicating with legislators. As a nurse, I would try to deepen my perspective on the legislative processes to find out where to apply pressure or to understand where the change would be most visible. Therefore, I would use the strategies of understanding the legislative processes, understanding committees, and knowing key players.

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To better prepare myself, I would most certainly need more education. Although it would be best to receive a high-quality education in legislation, it would take me too long, so I would try to educate myself using research and other valid sources. This way, I would be able to fully grasp the picture of the complex structure that legislature is. I would then try to acquire memberships in various professional nursing organizations to seek to advocate for the needs of nurses across the world. With particular influence and knowledge on legislative processes, it would be possible to achieve a higher quality of healthcare. Furthermore, it would help to improve the environment in which the nurses work.

I would involve other nurses by providing the coverage of what is done and what is yet to be done. To achieve that, I would organize various meetings with nurses from different institutions. Through the communication that would be established, it would be possible to reach out to many nurses. This way I will be able to make sure that the strategies are well-known.

Legislator Information Sheet

Understaffing is a serious problem that creates a vast amount of possibilities for the health care system to function significantly worse, while health care facilities are forced to spend more resources on fighting off this problem rather than increasing the quality of care. Moreover, the decrease in the nurse-patient ratios may directly cause nurses to be unable to carry out their duties, which often results in terrible consequences.

  • Understaffing causes nurses to lose perception of patients’ well-being, which may lead to discharging them without making sure they recovered (Kinnaird, 2015);
  • Decrease in some active nurses causes patients to experience far less care, which is an essential component of treatment (Kinnaird, 2015);
  • Addressing the staffing issues may cause an overall increase in the hospital’s status (Kinnaird, 2015);
  • The example of California’s hospitals that first addressed the staffing problem demonstrates an increase in the overall quality of care (lesser mortality rates) (Aiken et al., 2010);
  • Implementing staffing quality measuring procedures results in better patient care in general (AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, 2016);
  • Proper staffing procedures (increasing nurses count per patient) results in less time spent by patients in intense treatment and surgical units (AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, 2016);
  • Understaffed facilities will more likely be unable to provide proper care and treatment (AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, 2016);
  • Insufficient nurse to patient ratio causes nurses to spend much more time on their duties. This results in various diseases and dysfunctions (AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, 2016). Therefore, the number of experienced nurses able to provide better care and treatment is decreasing;
  • Understaffing is one of the causes of “nurse burnout” that also results in declining number of experienced personnel (AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, 2016);
  • Low nurse-patient ratio causes facilities to spend more resources on replacements (AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, 2016). This results in fewer possibilities to acquire better equipment and improve the overall condition of a facility.

References

Abood, S. (2007). Influencing health care in the legislative arena. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 12(1).

AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees. (2016). Safe-staffing ratios: Benefiting nurses and patients. Web.

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

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Kinnaird, L. S. (2016). Staffing: A matter of life or death. The Florida Nurse, 64(2), 1-5.

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