Friday, January 05, 2007
Can you force good nursing with quotas?
…Oooo, that irritating peeping sound when IVs are empty. It can go on and on, even if you call for an aide to turn it off or hang more stuff.
….Laura Landro, writing in the WSJ (Dec 13, 2006), says there is ongoing strife between state-mandated nurse/patient ratios and hospital efforts to make do with fewer nurses without compromising care.
…Apparently there is scant evidence that more nurses means better care.
…Most hospitals and nursing societies oppose quotas. The hospitals say if there is a quota and they can’t find the nurses to fill it (half are retiring soon and by 2020, we will be one million nurses low), they might have to close units. In Mass, hospitals support a website on what they are doing. It’s www.patientsfirst.ma.org.
…The nurse unions, of course, support quotas.
…Others, though, say let’s help the nurses we do have be more efficient—cut their paperwork and scut duties.
…The nurse to patient ratio also needs to be set according to how sick the people are.
…An obstetrics nurse also should not be assigned to intensive care. So the type of nurse is important.
…In other words, the ratio would vary by floor or ward, not by state.
…Computer programs are designed to weigh these factors.
…Yay to all this! All HA knows is that good bedside care can make or break a hospital stay and may be a matter of life and death.
…How about some funding for more nursing schools while we are at it? A million-nurse shortfall is gonna smart.