There are a multitude of issues at both the state and federal level that need to be changed. One of the most significant changes that needs to be made is patient staffing. In particular, we need safe staff and patient ratios, and we need laws to regulate them. These ratios help keep both nurses and patients safe. Currently in place is something called the “42 Code of Federal Regulations” (Nurse Staffing: Health care advocacy: American Nurses Association, n.d.). This law contains broad language about the actual numbers of nurses needed per patient, so it doesn’t help nurses or patients. In fact, it’s difficult even to enforce it because it isn’t specific enough!
There are only 14 states that have some kind of nurse staffing law (Nurse Staffing: Health care advocacy: American Nurses Association, n.d.)! Every state should have clear, concise laws to ensure patient and nurse safety. This is important to me because it affects both my future patients and me. In order to “do no harm,” we must be able to practice nursing safely, effectively, and to the best of our ability. If we are trying to care for way more patients than is safe, we are not doing good for the patients, or ourselves. Enacting safe staffing laws allows nurses to practice safely, and in turn, give our patients the care they deserve.
Nurse Staffing: Health care advocacy: American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/nurse-staffing/nurse-staffing-advocacy/.
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