5 things we’ve learned from California’s nurse-to-patient ratios
Nurses in California, one of the United States’ biggest states, won safe staffing nurse-to-patient ratios in 1999 after a 13 year fight. Mandated ratios have been in place in the state since 2004. 15 years on, here are just some of the results that they’ve seen in the Golden State.
1. Nurse-to-patient ratios lead to less patients per nurse across the board.
Sounds pretty obvious right? However, we’ve all heard the arguments that ratios will reduce flexibility, and will not affect the quality of patient care. California’s example shows that this simply is not the case. In fact, Californian nurses take care of two fewer patients on average than nurses in states without ratios – a sign that hospital management will not staff adequately without mandatory patient limits.
2. Nurse-to-patient ratios save lives
California has been leading the United States in a number of indicators, including mortality rates and patient satisfaction. It’s a clear indicator that, 20 years on, nurse-to-patient ratios are still saving lives. Gerard Brogan from the California Nurses Association talks about it in this episode of Nurse Talk.
3. Nurse-to-patient ratios make work safer for nurses
It almost sounds too good to be true! Because of safer staffing levels, California has experienced a 30% drop in illness and injury within the nursing workforce. This is because of more manageable workloads and lower stress levels within the nursing workforce.
4. Nurse employment rises with mandated staffing ratios
With unemployment being a key issue, it’s never been more important for governments to consider job creation. Nurse-to-patient ratios led to a 15% increase in nurse employment in California after its implementation. That’s more jobs for more people, and more hands on deck in hospitals and facilities. It’s a triple win for nurses, patients and the economy!
5. Nurse-to-patient ratios improve nurse retention
Nurse-to-patient ratios doesn’t only save lives, it also makes financial sense. By reducing nurse burnout and turnover, hospitals can save from the expense and clinical disruption of having to constantly replace nursing staff.
Nurses know that safe patient ratios make sense. It’s why they’re fighting for nurse-to-patient ratios across the board – in every ward, on every shift, city and country. Will you support them?
Show your support today: www.ratioslifeordeath.org.au