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Iowa mandating nurse to patient ratios

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Kathleen Mac Millan, Director of the Dalhousie School of Nursing, points to California to support the argument that mandatory ratios are a bad idea."Experiments with fixed nurse-patient ratios in other jurisdictions (.e.g.California), which were initially hailed as solutions, have largely been policy failures and have been abandoned," writes Mac Millan in The Chronicle Herald.Aiken examined how patient mortality and failure-to-rescue (FTR), incidents where hospital doctors, nurses, or caregivers fail to notice symptoms or respond adequately to signs that a patient is dying of preventable complications, are affected by differences in nurse workloads.“The California Department of Health undertook a multiyear process to determine the minimum ratios to be mandated based upon research and other factors.”[2] California mandated the following nurse-to-patient staffing ratios:[3] As of March 2011, 15 states[a] and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation or adopted regulations addressing nurse staffing. Legislatures in at least seven states and the District of Columbia are trying to answer that question as they debate bills that would require hospitals to have a minimum number of nurses on staff at all times. California is the only state that has a minimum nurse staffing law, but at least seven other states are considering adopting their own versions (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images). California’s state legislature passed a minimum nurse staffing law in 1999. bag for a patient at the University of Miami Hospital’s Emergency Department in 2012 in Miami.

A survey of nurses by the American Nurses Association found 54% saying that they did not have sufficient time to spend on each patient, despite 43% of the respondents working longer hours during the prior year. There are fewer nurses, all working longer hours and rushing through more patients during every shift, as a result. Hospitals across the country have growing caseloads of patients and limited numbers of nurses available to treat them—the consequence of 20 years of hospital downsizing due to state budget cuts and private mergers.They would wear themselves out trying to diagnose and treat each one.Every working shift was rushed and exhausting, and simple mistakes or missed cues became more common than they needed to be, inevitable side effects of nurses going on too much stress and too little sleep.Capital Health, their employer, argues that mandatory ratios are too costly to implement and not effective.