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Opinion Assignment:  Nurse to Patient Staffing Ratio

Influencing the Future of Nursing and Health Care











Nursing Shortage and Quality of Care

The need for more registered nurses continues to rise as we now come to face an increase in the geriatric population that is the “Baby Boomers”.  The safety and quality of patient care is directly related to the size and experience of the nursing workforce. Nurses work in a variety of conditions that may not be preferential because hospitals have not kept up with the rising demand for nurses.

As a nurse assistant, staff nurse, charge nurse or nursing administrator, inadequate staffing creates tension and stress. When staffing is inadequate patient safety, infection rates, patient satisfaction and staff satisfaction are only a few of the areas affected. Many hospital administrators and lawmakers want to make patient care a numbers game. According to Morgan (2004), The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations requires hospitals to create a staffing plan that defines staffing effectiveness as the skill mix, competence, and effectiveness related to the services needed.  Patients are individuals with individual needs and one patient with a certain diagnosis can take much less attention and time from the nurse than a patient of the same age with the same diagnosis. 

The notion that high-quality ca