Patient to Nurse Ratio


Many nursing staff faces the understaffing issue and having too much workload during one shift. Understaffing a nursing unit results to nurses being burnt out and patients not receiving the care and support and treatment they deserve (Stalpers, Brouwer, Kaljouw & Schuurmans, 2015). Sadly, the nurse-patient ratio issue is overlooked in many facilities, and this could lead to possible devastating medical errors. One of the factors influencing the nurse-patient ratio is the nurse shortages (Gottlieb, 2016). When nurses are few, and the patients are many, it becomes impossible to attend to every patient and offer the quality services required, and this may result in the death of many patients and at the same time overworking the nurses. The nurse-patient ratio aspect is studied broadly, and new modifications have been implemented to improve the problem. With this regard, this paper will discuss the patient to nurse ratio and the effects associated with the ratio.

In the past few decades, there has been a nursing shortage which has prompted registered nurses’ need in the healthcare setting. The fundamental explanation behind this deficiency is the uprising keenness of patient care and a decrease in their overall hospital stay. Determination of nurse-patient proportion in the healthcare facilities remains a challenge for the nursing profession. The two principle staffing strategies utilized as a part of most healthcare institutions are staffing by patient acuity using patient classification system and also staffing by mandated nurse to patient ratio (Falk & Wallin, 2016). The two strategies have impacts on patients’ results, wellbeing, and general fulfillment. Identification and upkeep of a suitable number of mixed nursing staff are critical to the delivery of quality patient care. Research uncovers a relationship between a larger amount of experienced registered nurses and lower rates of adverse patient outcomes (Cho, Sloane, Kim, Kim, Choi, Yoo & Aiken, 2015). 

Deadlines from 1 hour
Get A+ help
with any paper

At the point when medical caretakers are compelled to work with high attendant patient proportions, patients die, and some get an infection or are made to go home too soon without adequate information about how to take care their illness or injury.  This makes the patients to be rushed back to the hospital sicker than before. Research demonstrates that the more the nurses in the organization, the fewer demise cases happen (Stalpers et al., 2015). Some of the patients who are hospitalized die shortly or during their hospitalization. It is discovered a small portion of these deaths could probably be avoided if there were more attendants to take care of the patients. Health organizations with low nurse staffing levels tend to have higher rates of poor patients’ results (Cho et al., 2015). Understaffing prompts appropriate care not being delivered.

There is a proposition that various elements are causal concerning the relationship between nursing care and reduction in patient mortality.  These components include measures of nursing burnout, work fulfillment, nurse cooperation, nurse turnover, the leadership of nurses in hospitals and nurse practice environment. To settle nurse staffing ratio, several factors need to be considered. First, there is the need for the establishment of adjustable numbers of registered nurses (Buchan, Twigg, Dussault, Duffield & Stone, 2015). Input from the direct care registered nurse should be included. The unit and organizational level staffing, quality and patient outcome data ought to be taken into consideration. The nurses should not be compelled to work in units where they are not prepared or have no experience. While mandating nurse-patient proportions and prohibiting overtime may be reasonable, the maintenance of nurses within the profession must be considered (Buchan et al., 2015). Deficiencies of learning nursing institutions can also limit the number of students accepted into accredited nursing programs and nurse practice environment (Buchan & Calman, 2016).  Many nursing facilities, therefore, need to be set up to train more nurses. This will help in responding to the nurse shortage.  

Additionally, the other step to settle nurse staffing ratio will be to implement nurse-driven staffing committees, which will come up with plans that reflect the patients’ needs and relate the experience of the staff for each shift.  The legislature also is supposed to regulate actual nurse-patient proportion in legislation. The American Nurses Association supports a principle in which nurses are encouraged to create staffing plans specific to each treatment (Falk & Wallin, 2016). The approach is meant to aid in the establishment of a level of staffing that is flexible and can be modified based on the patients need, admission number to the units, transfers and discharge during each shift.  The model will help in making sure that each nursing unit is staffed properly. The other approach will entail the acquisition of institution to disclose staffing levels to the public and a legislative body. When considering the retention of qualified nurses within the healthcare, understaffing, job satisfaction, nurse burnout, among other factors must be considered (Buchan & Calman, 2016).

Did you like this sample?
  1. Cho, E., Sloane, D. M., Kim, E. Y., Kim, S., Choi, M., Yoo, I. Y., … & Aiken, L. H. (2015). Effects of nurse staffing, work environments, and education on patient mortality: an observational study. International journal of nursing studies52(2), 535-542.
  2. Falk, A. C., & Wallin, E. M. (2016). Quality of patient care in the critical care unit in relation to nurse patient ratio: A descriptive study. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing35, 74-79.
  3. Gottlieb, L. N. (2016). Shortage of Nurses, Shortage of Nursing. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research Archive32(3).
  4. Buchan, J., Twigg, D., Dussault, G., Duffield, C., & Stone, P. W. (2015). Policies to sustain the nursing workforce: an international perspective. International nursing review62(2), 162-170.
  5. Buchan, J., & Calman, L. (2016). The global shortage of registered nurses: an overview of issues and actions. 2005. Geneva: International Council of Nurses (ICN) Google Scholar.
  6. Stalpers, D., de Brouwer, B. J., Kaljouw, M. J., & Schuurmans, M. J. (2015). Associations between characteristics of the nurse work environment and five nurse-sensitive patient outcomes in hospitals: a systematic review of literature. International journal of nursing studies52(4), 817-835.
Related topics
More samples
Related Essays