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Advocacy and Nurse-Patient Ratios

October 30th, 2020
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Personal/Professional Strategies to Increase my Power

There are several methods that I would use to increase the effectiveness in the implementation or formation of policies that are directed towards the growth of healthcare industry. The methods to be utilized would be more effective at the personal and association levels with all the other nurses. First, we, as nurses, could decide to use our numbers to form professional organizations that would articulate the existing issues. According to 2004 national sample, there are more than 2004 registered nurses; if all of these nurses could form one professional organization, they would have a voice and would be heard in the formulation of policies that are related to healthcare (Abood, 2007). Second, we could choose to use our expert power to influence the decision-making process, since we are the party that is in a constant interaction with patients. Third, I could choose the legitimate power, which was granted to me immediately after I became a nurse. This power allows me to address all issues that are related to healthcare in the society. This will provide an elaborate opportunity for me to articulate all of the issues related to healthcare. We, as nurses, also have what is commonly known as referent power that comes from respect and admiration from members of the community (Abood, 2007). This power allows us to push for health related agendas in the society. Since members of the public have more confidence in what nurses can do for them, it provides an exact opportunity for nurses to articulate the issues in the healthcare system. Lastly, the nurse could choose either reward power or coercive power, depending if the legislators have fulfilled their obligations (Abood, 2007).

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There are many ways we can be primed for policy advocacy roles. First, I could attend short courses on legislation present in most of the professional nursing bodies. These courses equip individuals with sufficient knowledge on how the legislative agenda is run. Second, joining a professional organization that advocates for a legislative agenda would also be on the cards. I will also advice all of the patients and other nurses to join the course on legislation.

Legislator Information Sheet

Several states have initiated mandatory staffing ratios. The information provided below provides us with the reasons why a certain state should implement a similar policy that relates to mandatory staffing ratios. One of such states with such a policy is California. The information below shows the effect of mandatory staffing nursing ratios on healthcare industry:

  • Safe staffing ratios improve care in patients and the workplace, in general;
  • Nurses in California, where the above policy is implemented, tend to have lower burnout rates, as compared to states without mandatory staffing ratios policy (Aiken et al., 2010);
  • California staffing shows a decrease in the number of patient mortality cases, as compared to states that are lacking such policies (Aiken et al., 2010);
  • Patients in California had a lower risk of falling from their beds (Aiken et al., 2010);
  • California had 13.9% lower cases in surgical deaths, as compared to other states (Aiken et al., 2010);
  • Minimum staffing ratio had a positive outcome on poor and uninsured patients in California (Aiken et al., 2010);
  • Understaffing and working for many hours has had a negative effect on the health of nurses and patients (Department for Professional Employees, 2016);
  • A 2010 study showed that understaffing is linked to an increase in cardiovascular diseases among nurses;
  • Understaffing increases emotional exhaustion among nurses, causing high burnout rates and subsequent high turnover rates in hospitals (Department for Professional Employees, 2016);
  • Addition of one patient to an understaffed nurse in a hospital increases patient mortality rates by more than 7% (Department for Professional Employees, 2016);
  • Long term patients in understaffed facilities develop other conditions, while being in healthcare settings (Department for Professional Employees, 2016);
  • Understaffing leads to the utilisation of ore resources in hiring of temporary nurses and other medical practitioners;
  • Safe nursing ratios are usually associated with higher retention rates in healthcare settings (Kinnard, 2016).

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