Another major study shows that California’s landmark nurse to-patient staffing ratio law improves the quality of patient care and enhances registered nurse staffing.
The latest study, by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Arizona State University, also refutes predictions promoted by healthcare industry opponents of the California law that hospitals might respond by disproportionately hiring lower-skill licensed vocational nurses.
The study shows after implementation of the law in 2004, California hospitals have added registered nurses, dramatically increasing patient access to professional RN care, a factor long associated with positive patient outcomes in a broad range of care barometers. Says Deborah Burger, RN, a co-president of National Nurses United (NNU) and the California Nurses Association (CNA):
This study brings home once again what California nurses could readily tell you. The safe staffing law has improved the quality of care in California hospitals, ensured that RNs have more time to spend with patients, respond to patient care incidents, and reduced the nursing shortage by keeping experienced, professional RNs where they belong, at the bedside.CNA led the fight for California law and fought off efforts by the hospital industry and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to roll back the law.
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“Contradicting Fears, California’s Nurse-To-Patient Mandate Did Not Reduce The Skill Level Of The Nursing Workforce In Hospitals,” appears in July issue of Health Affairs.