Balancing Cost-Effective Nurse Staffing with Patient Outcomes

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Balancing Cost-Effective Nurse Staffing with Patient Outcomes
In a survey of around 220,000 registered nurses, thirty nine percent responded that the current staffing levels were inadequate and thirty eight percent found them unsatisfactory (American Nurses Association [ANA], 2013, para. 4). Nurse staffing is a topic all too well discussed by both managers and the nursing staff. All units have budgets and staffing that have to be done on a regular basis by the nurse manager. There is currently a larger nurse-to-patient ratio than most nurses would like. Along with the stress and long hours associated with the career choice of nursing, nurse burnout is a very common complaint in today’s society. Nurses often complain of being short staffed and having too large of a patient load. Interest in this topic comes from wanting to pursue management at some point in my career and working on a floor in which a second shift nurse could have twelve patients. Not only will nurses feel better, but better patient outcomes occur when units are better staffed. Even though budgets limit the amount of nurses by patient census, money may actually be saved by staffing more qualified nurses.
Overview of topic Nurse staffing is a topic of much debate over nurse to patient ratios, nurse satisfaction, and promoting the best patient outcomes. Hospitals are constantly trying to staff their units while staying to their allowed budget. This often means that a greater nurse to patient ratio occurs in order for the unit to see a more immediate financial savings. But, unfortunately the larger nurse to patient ratio also creates more adverse patient outcomes. This in turn is a greater cost to the hospital than staffing more experienced nursing staff, such as registered nurses. With the long hours and heavy patient loads that most nurses have, job burnout and dissatisfaction occur very

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