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Nursing advocacy group shines light on failure to provide proper nurse to patient ratios

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Nurse Licensing |

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), a national organization that advocates for nurses within the healthcare sector, recently called out clinical work environments for failing to provide appropriate staffing. The group states that it has conducted national surveys since 2005 and that the 2021 survey had the lowest rating for matching patient needs to nurse competencies to date.

What can be done to address this issue?

The group released new standards that can help address this growing issue. The Appropriate Staffing in Critical Care guidelines are composed of seven standards, including:

  • Inclusivity. The AACN notes the importance of having direct care nurses involved in all aspects of staffing. This means more than just directly serving the patients, it means having nurses involved in the planning and scheduling side as well.
  • Alignment. The group also points out that a nurse’s assignments must be based not just on patient needs but the nurse’s experience and competency to handle each assigned patient. This may mean one nurse’s number of assignments is different than another’s. Based on this recommendation, a fair proportion of assignments per nurse may not translate to an equal number of assignments.
  • Realistic care expectations for the critically ill. There are not many clear expectations within the standards, but one that stands out is a call within the guidelines for a ration of one nurse to two critically ill or injured patients.

These standards are not regulatory or mandatory but serve as a guideline for to help influence the nursing profession.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication.

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