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Mandating Nurse-Patient Ratios

Facts on Nurse-Patient Ratio

  • The nurse-patient ratio has been on the decline with the majority of nurses complaining of the high shortages of enough nurses to maintain the quality aspect of the undertakings (Abood, 2007).
  • There is a direct correlation between the welfare of the nurses and patients with the right number of staffing of nurses (American Nurses Association, 2015).
  • California State forms the benchmark of the results of having the right nurse-patient ratio. All hospitals in California that realigned to the demands of the minimum nurse-patient ratio recorded improved patients’ welfare (Aiken et al., 2010).
  • The research conducted by Sochalski between the years 1991 to 2001 indicates that when acute myocardial patients were exposed to registered nurse (RN), there were fewer mortality rates (American Nurses Association, 2014).
  • American Nursing Association is fully in support of improved nurse-patient ratio to ensure improved service delivery (American Nurses Association, 2015).
  • A low nurse-patient ratio is a factor that has brought about the problem of high nurse turnover due to excessive workload (Behan, 2011).
  • Having a healthy nurse-patient ratio is helpful in attracting qualified nurses in addition to helping in nurse retention (Dorning, 2014).
  • There is an increment in level of complication in the cases brought to the health care facilities leading to increased demand for nursing services. The increased demand has resulted to low nurse-patient ratios leading to a decline in the level of quality services and attention (American Nurses Association, 2015).

My Strategies to Influence Votes

Research has shown that proper nurse staffing has led to improved patients welfare (Aiken et al., 2010). It has also been identified to be the force behind high nurse retention not forgetting its luring aspect it has on qualified nurses. In California, the enactment of legislation on the minimum nurse-patient ratio has brought about positive changes for both nurses and patients. Based on the positive results in California and the positive impact on both patients and nurses, there is a need to enact comprehensive minimum nurse-patient ratio legislation for improved healthcare service delivery.

Any successive legislation represents a combination of well-crafted marketing and sensitizing campaigns (Abood, 2007). Above all, there is a need to ensure that clarity and consistency are maintained while informing people about the need for the championed change of the concerned policy. To ensure that votes are guaranteed for the minimum nurse-patient ratio legislation, there is a need to enact both local and state lobbying campaigns.

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Local Strategies

The intention at this level is informing the colleagues and the local public on the importance of having a minimum nurse-patient ratio to ensure more support.

Incorporating Colleagues

The first people to consult are other medical professionals to ensure all aspects relating to nurse-patient ratio are well captured in the policy proposal. Incorporating colleagues’ input on the proposal will ensure that the proposal will now become a commonly shared agenda. The main targeted group is nurses who are at the center of benefiting from the legislation if accepted and voted for by the state legislators. The high turnover is a result of increased workload that is one of the biggest challenged being faced by nurses (Aiken et al., 2010). Once the proposal is accepted by nurses; it will be easier to spread the benefits of the policy to the general public through the nurse-patient contact. Nurses will be passing on the information to their patients on the benefits they will get if their legislators will accept and pass the bill.

Public Sensitizing Campaigns

Once the basic information about the proposed minimum nurse-patient ratio has been spread to the public, there is a need to ensure that indeed the public has detailed information on the pros and cons of the proposed policy. When dealing with legislators, the most effective way to get their attention and support is through their electorates (Abood, 2007). Therefore, getting the public support is very helpful since this will lead to increased pressure on the concerned legislators to hinder to the demands of their voters. Such move will help utilize the potential power of numbers since to ensure the perpetuity of their rule, legislators are very keen on concerned ‘numbers’ when it comes to supporting or opposing various pieces of legislation. Once the local public is fully aware of their improved medical welfare with the passing of the bill, they will, in turn, call for the support of their local leaders who will share the information with the colleagues at the state level.

State-Based Strategies

The intention, in this level, is gaining state based attention in order to sensitize the public on the way the proposed policy will be helpful to them. State-based advocacy demands more resources and connections both economically and politically (Abood, 2007). Therefore, in order to ensure a better bargaining platform, there is a need to agitate for desired change within a more specialized body on medical policies.

Nursing Organization

Utilizing this platform will ensure that more resources and more experienced lobbyists are available. The lobbyists are better placed in the marketing of the policy to other relevant organization that will ensure a sustained agitation until the concerned legislators take up the initiative. It is also through the help of lobbyists that it will be possible to get a one on one exchange with the ‘well connected’ players that can influence legislators in order to get the right number of votes to see through the policy.

Increasing My Power to Influence Votes

The strategies at this level are those geared to making the proposed policy get increased support; this is in both the public and legislators. This can be attained by identifying the influential individuals both in power and those who have a natural influence on the people within the state.

Professional Organization

As mentioned earlier, it is critical to ensure that lobbying is done under a nursing organization as this will be helpful in presenting the proposal as an organizational-based rather than individual based. According to Abood (2007), power comes in numbers and ensuring the association supports the policy will be very helpful when proving the support, relevance and agency of the policy. Under these nurses are people with a great level of connection ranging from political leaders to big medical companies who can easily ensure the proposed policy is accepted by the state legislators. It will also be possible to utilize the expert power availed by the highly experienced nurses in the organization who enjoy a higher degree of trust from both legislators, nurses, influential private leaders and the general public. Gaining their support will highly improve the credibility of the proposed policy.

Media

State media is a very crucial tool when it comes to sensitizing the public on matters policies. In the same spirit, there is a need to utilize this platform to ensure that the details of the proposal are clear to the general public. Moreover, there is a need to identify a popular interview program and lobby for a one on one interview with the identified station. Utilizing the media will be helpful to influence the public in all corners of the state about the benefits of the proposed policy. Once an interview has been scheduled, there is a need to be accompanied by influential experts who will second the proposal to give it the blessing of referent power. This is through the seconding from people who are respected and supported by the state public. However, as the initiator of the policy, there is a need to take an active role during the interview to give the proposal the ‘common man’s support’ who are the majority of people in any society. This will ensure the proposal will not be perceived as the policy championed by the mighty in the society but a common man. The result is improved public acceptance leading to improved pressure on legislators.

Other Viable Strategies

To ensure a more competitive edge in lobbying, there is a need to participate in annual state legislative days where one can get professional insights on the viable direction and approach to use while seeking change. It is through participation in these forums that one is able to meet experts on matters lobbying, thereby gaining helpful tips on the how to bring change in medical policies (Abood, 2007). Communities’ research is another avenue that can help one understand the cherished medical desires and, then, formulate the sensitizing campaigns through the elements of the policy that touch on the identified cherished health care desires. This can be helpful in making the various communities own the proposed policy. Once they have owned the policy, it can be easier to influence the legislators through the power of numbers.

There is a need to appreciate that on matters policy change, there must be the political will to ensure the proposal materializes into a legislated set of guidelines (Abood, 2007). It is, therefore, vital to ensure that one win the support of the relevant organizations, the general public and lobbyists who, in turn, amount a sustained pressure onto the legislators who has the final say on the proposed change. Thorough research is vital to ensure that the variables are fully understood for clarity of ideas helpful in pooling together all necessary resources and support. Over and above, the only way to gain the necessary support leading to enough votes is through intensive lobbying (Abood, 2007) to get the support of all relevant and influential parties. With enough lobbying, even a common nurse can bring the desired change despite all the challenges.

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