Mandating Nurse-Patient Ratios

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Mandating Nurse Patient Ratios

The U.S. Health Care System


Nowadays, the US healthcare system undergoes serious transformations. Nevertheless, serious steps are to be made at both the state and local levels. The role of medical personnel’s initiatives in the reforms is extremely important. In fact, nurses are the first official persons who deal with their patient’s problems. As well-informed professionals, nurses are to take an active part in the reforms, developing their own strategies and increasing their power.

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Legislator Information Sheet

· The US healthcare system undergoes numerous challenges nowadays. In fact, “quality and performance improvement initiatives are driving significant changes in the United States healthcare system” (Weston & Roberts, 2013).

· The nurse personnel working in health care institutions of California is not similar to the nursing staff of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The reason is in the effective legislation, initiated in California in 2004. This phenomenon can be achieved under the circumstances when “state-mandated minimum nurse-to-patient ratios are in effect” (Aiken et al., 2010, p. 1).

There are several key distinctions in California’s health care.

· There is a shortage of experienced health care staff at hospitals. In common surgeries, mortality increased by 7%. According to surveys, “nurse burnout and job dissatisfaction, precursors of voluntary turnover, also increased significantly as nurses’ workloads increased” (Aiken et al., 2010, p. 2).

· The average quantity of assigned patients exceeded the mandated 2:1 ratio to an insignificant degree. Within the mandated ratio of medical-surgical specialty is 5:1, California demonstrated 4.8 in comparison to 6.8 in New Jersey and 6.5 in Pennsylvania (Aiken et al., 2010, p. 3).

· The number of assigned patients has decreased by approximately fourfold. In correspondence with a percentage indicating compliance strategy, the ratio between the increased, the same, and the decreased levels is 10:49:42 respectively (Aiken et al., 2010, p. 11).

· Innovative strategies contribute to the development of nurse-patient ratios. In fact, “health information technology… holds the potential to transform the quality of care and to establish linkages between nursing care and patient outcomes” (Dykes & Collins, 2013).

My Strategies to Influence Votes

There is no denying the fact that the current state of affairs in the U.S. health care system leaves much to be desired. Many nurses cannot stay aside from modern health policies and they become involved in many political and practical activities to improve the situation in the field. In fact, nurses are the first representatives of the U.S. authorities that close contact with the patients and their families. Therefore, nurses are the most well-informed persons to initiate improvements in the policies and legislation that manage the entire U.S. health care system (Abood, 2007).

According to the statistics of 2005, health care insurers did not embrace all American citizens in the provision of health care coverage (Abood, 2007). For example, approximately 46.6 million Americans do not possess health insurance programs of any type (Abood, 2007). This fact appears to be dangerous on the background of rising prices for medical services. The system supplying medical services lacks wise coordination. This fact leads to boosting costs of medical treatment and placing suffering individuals into a risky situation. Nurses are at the crossroads, having to choose the way of leaving things be as they are or to struggle for changes and search for new opportunities to improve the situation (Abood, 2007). As policy advocates, nurses may implement several strategies both at the local and state levels. Leaving the habitual comfort zone, nurses face numerous challenges requiring free access to power resources, strong determination, and time (Abood, 2007).

Taking into account all the achieved nursing experience in policies, I would advise implementing three main strategies in the field both at the local and at the state levels. They are suggesting initiatives into health care policy, introducing changes into proposals or banning these proposals, and initiating changes into the practical usages of adopted health policy.

My Strategies at the Local Level

My first suggested strategy is initiating policy proposals. Following the best practices, initiatives in the health care field would be beneficial. First, self-consciousness and the proper educational level are to be provided at the local level. This goal can be achieved by organizing various coaching courses and professional events. In fact, a great majority of state nursing and specialty nursing organizations provide financial support for arranging national legislative events. They hold policy workshops, aiming to suggest the medical employees broaden their knowledge about the modern U.S. legislation and law-making procedures. The above-mentioned subjects arrange coaching courses for teaching new members of the initiative teams (Abood, 2007).

My Strategies at the State Level

At the state level, government agencies and private sector insurers are the subjects that initiate a great number of directions and regulations, complicating the relations between nurses and patients. Moving between settings or between providers requires comprehensive preparation and education of patients and families as well as the accurate and timely flow of essential information (Lamb, 2015). The cost of health care treatment and access to the medical services of high quality are the burning problems of modern medicine (Abood, 2007).

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Providing the opportunity for nurses to change or veto other’s nursing proposals is my second strategy to implement. Being well-informed about the real state of affairs and effective techniques, nurses can suggest their own proposals. Discussing the relevant issues with their colleagues, nurses can examine the advantages and drawbacks of those proposals and find proper solutions. Nurses are more interested in solving their challenges than policy-makers are. Therefore, their activities would be more effective. The tools for providing changes in the health care field are the possibilities to ban others’ proposals that do not correspond to their interests. Nurses are to have the opportunity to take part in public meetings to draw public attention to their position. Under the circumstances, mass media is the relevant tool for advocating the proposals under consideration (Abood, 2007).

I argue that organized groups should defend their voters’ interests in a professional way. This activity requires a long-term practice that may last for a month and even years. Therefore, nurses are to be members of professional societies to advocate their interests. The collective professional defense would be more successful than the individual one. Professional organizations may register their candidates to support their ideas. Therefore, voting in elections is an important issue (Abood, 2007).

Increasing My Power to Influence Votes

Analyzing the literature, I have developed an approach increasing my power to influence voters. I agree with Abood (2007) that “the ability to successfully exert influence in the various arenas … depends on having a power base and knowing where and when to exert that influence.” In fact, power is the most significant tool in this field. Like Abood, I distinguish five types of power. They are “namely expertise, one’s role, personal respect, and the abilities to reward and/or punish” (Abood, 2007). Personally, I would find free access to them even being new in the nursing policy arena.

Joining professional organizations is an effective strategy. I do not consider that nurses are powerless as some individuals may think. As Abood (2007) states, “there are 2.9 million registered nurses who are dispersed in every voting district in the nation.” Unfortunately, these significant resources are not implemented properly because of such reasons as lasting disagreements with physicians and failures in demographic diversity. Therefore, I would involve this potential resource to increase my power.

I would pay attention to expert power as the second source of great possibilities. This issue can be explained as “possessing the knowledge and skill that someone else needs” (Abood, 2007). Expert power is the background for defending proposals in the legislative arena. As both providers and consumers of health care services, nurses can share their experience with political players.

Legitimate power is my third source of boosting my influence in voting. To get access to making politics, I am to be registered, getting the license of the State Board of Nursing (Abood, 2007). Moreover, I would find legislative support in the documents developed by the American Nurses Association. The most significant legislations are the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements and Nursing’s Social Policy Statement (Abood, 2007).

I can get referent power, being worthy of other persons’ admiration and respect. I am completely sure that people’s trust is a powerful and precious thing.

Then, there is reward power, and it can be of various types. This issue can be explained as “the ability to give other people what they want, and hence ask them to do things for you in exchange” (Abood, 2007). In practice, it may mean the thing that each policy-maker wants to obtain as many votes as he can in order to be chosen. Instead, he is to support his voters’ interests. In fact, “the unusual part of healthcare is that the products and services are often so unique to the consumer that comparison seems impossible” (Dailey, 2013). I think that I can obtain this reward power. Finally, I draw attention to coercive power. Being the direct opposite of the reward power, the coercive one uses the ability to penalize. I agree with Abood (2007) who states: “coercion is the ultimate power of all governments.” The state and federal taxation legislation play a significant role. Going together with rewards, punishment is an effective source of managing behavior. Nevertheless, I do not consider that I have access and desire to use this tool currently.

Evaluating modern tools for increasing the power to influence voters, I would choose networking. Modern society is truly considered to be closely connected with high information technologies. Many people spend the great majority of their time surfing the Internet. Researchers note that “the decreased cost of personal computing and internet connectivity has increased the impact of technology on nurses” (Jackson, Fraser, & Ash, 2014). Therefore, I consider the networking strategy to be effective.

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Nowadays, the U.S. healthcare system meets numerous challenges. Despite global transformations, nurses can influence the healthcare system in a more effective way than professional policy-makers. I would advise introducing three main strategies in health care. They include providing initiatives into health care policy, introducing changes to proposals or banning these proposals, and initiating changes into the practical usages of adopted health policy. To develop my power to influence voters, I would implement increasing credentials, joining organizations, and manage networking with potential voters.

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