Identification and maintenance of an adequate number of nursing staff in essential to delivering quality health care. Several studies reveal a relationship between high levels of experienced staffing and lower rates of unwanted patient outcomes (Kane, et al., 2007).
This campaign, More-Nurses Initiative aims at advocating for the need to have an adequate number of experienced nursing staff in health facilities with a view to improving the quality of healthcare services.
Some laws have been put in place to ensure that there is enough number of nursing staff in hospitals. Among them is 42 Code of Federal Regulation (42CFR 482.23(b)) which obliges hospitals certified to take part in Medicare to have enough number of licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and other skilled personnel to offer nursing care services to patients as required (Burnes Bolton, et al., 2007). The failure of the Congress and their continued use of vague language to enact The Registered Nurse Staffing Act has forced states and other non-governmental organizations to come up with strategies that would ensure maximum nurse staffing so as to meet the needs of patients. According to Lankshear, some states tends to make use of one of the following approaches in ensuring adequate numbers of nurse staffing (Lankshear, et al., 2005):
Ensuring that hospitals have staffing committees that are nurse-driven which form staffing plans the depict patients needs and are in line with the experience and skills of the staff.
Legislating regulations that mandate a nurse to attend to a specific number of patients.
Requiring health facilities to publicize their staffing levels.
Adequate staffing is significant in providing quality and professional nursing services. The existing systems of nurse staffing are in many cases inflexible and antiquated (Cho, et al., 2003). Greater values can be obtained from models that depict the patient-to-nurse ratios and can easily be adjusted considering the factors in shift level. Factors influencing the needs of nurse staffing include patient stability, acuity, or complexity; the number of discharges, transfers, and admissions; professional and skilled nursing; physical layout and space of the facility; and availability of technological support among other valuable resources.
Methods used to influence Legislators
The most efficient way to influence for the More-Nurses Initiative is to address the needs of patients in hospitals. Nurses and other hospital staff should then lobby legislators to enact laws that would ensure that patients get the best nursing services in health centers.
Three Legs of Lobbying
For the lobbying to be effective, there is the need for nurses to comprehend the three legs of lobbying strategy. The first leg is the professional lobbyist. To make More-Nurses Initiative a reality in many states of America, there is a need for nurses to come together and speak up. This can be done in several ways such as writing, emailing, or calling relevant nursing boards and making use of membership to key stakeholders, for example, the American Nurse Association ANA. The bodies are therefore expected to come together and address this issue as a unit.
The grassroots technique would be the second leg. McGillis Hall asserts that when constituents have deep knowledge and expertise about a given issue, they stand valuable resources to their elected leaders. (McGillis Hall, et al., 2004). Nurses and professionals and experts. They can be easily heard when they speak. It is, therefore, necessary for them to stand up together and address the challenges that patients undergo in hospitals so as to make legislators and other policy makers understand the need of having an adequate number of nurses in health centers.
Capital leg is the final leg of the three legs of lobbying. For the goals of this campaign to be realized, there will be the need to have capital. The money will be used to employ more nurses in the public health sectors. Since this is a public campaign, the funds must come from the government coffers. The executive body of the government will be alerted of the ongoing campaign and the need to budget for more nurse staff members in public hospitals with a view to improving the quality of health services in the hospitals.
Summary of obstacles
To overcome challenges that patients undergo due to an inadequate number of nurses in hospitals, some obstacles have to be overcome. The primary challenge would be the release of funds to ensure the success of this initiative. This problem has existed for long, and the federal government has always been reluctant to address it. It is anticipated that it will take much effort to ensure that these funds are released. This would be done the legislative process. Legislators, through the enactment of relevant laws, are expected to oblige the federal government to release these funds as early as possible.
Much as there is a need to increase the number of nurse staffing, there is also need to address the duties of the nurses. Increasing their number will not help if they do not take their jobs seriously. Nursing bodies such as ANA Must ensure that their members conduct their duties diligently. There is also need to carry out research to identify the actual number of nurse staff needed.
Kane, R.L., Shamliyan, T.A., Mueller, C., Duval, S., Wilt, T.J. (. 2007). The association of registered nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis. Med Care.
Lankshear, A.J., Sheldon, T.A., Maynard, A. (2005). Nurse staffing and healthcare outcomes: a systematic review of the international research evidence. Adv Nurs Sci.
Burnes Bolton, L., Aydin, C.E., Donaldson, N., Storer Brown, N., Sandhu, M., Fridman, M. et al. (2007). Mandated nurse staffing ratios in California: a comparison of staffing and nursing-sensitive outcomes pre- and post-regulation. Policy Polit Nurs Pract.
Cho, S.H., Ketefian, S., Barkauskas, V.H., Smith, D.G. (2003). The effects of nurse staffing on adverse events, morbidity, mortality and medical costs. Nurs Res.
McGillis Hall, L., Doran, D., Pink, G.H. (2004). Nurse staffing models, nursing hours, and patient safety outcomes. J Nurs Adm.
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