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Quality Care Of Patients In Hospitals And The Current Nursing Shortages

1215 words - 5 pages

Ways to assess the care of loved onesAccording to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the growing shortage of nurses in America's hospitals is putting patient lives in danger and requires immediate attention. "The current nursing shortage threatens to heavily impact our citizens' health and our nations' security preparedness". (Person, 2003) The nursing shortage that is sweeping across the United States has been upgraded from a health crisis to a national security concern. A recent study in Pennsylvania found that surgical patients in hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios experience higher rates of mortality and deaths following complications. Nurses working in these establishments tend to experience greater burnouts, job dissatisfaction, which in turn leads to poor patient care. "A recent national survey found that an astounding 75 percent of RNs feel that the quality of nursing care at their facility has declined during the past two years, with 68 percent of RNs citing staffing levels as a major contributing factor to this problem." (AFSCME, 2003)Nurses are often pressured into taking short cuts to save hospitals money. Most of the time, this results in inadequate care provided to patients. Hospitals have found that with lower nurse to patient ratios will enhance the ability to recruit new nurses at lower costs. "Research shows there are concrete costs of inadequate RN staffing. Nurses report that they are assigned too many patients to be able to deliver optimal nursing care and adequately supervise support staff. With too many patients to care for, a hospital RN might not have time to clean a urinary catheter frequently enough to prevent a urinary tract infection. The nurse may not have enough time to ensure that a bedridden patient is turned, allowing secretions to build up in the patient's lungs resulting in pneumonia. These are among the hospital incurred infections that are preventable with appropriate RN staffing" (Myers, 2003)In the profession of nursing, nurses can be leaders and managers. In this role, nurses are responsible for the quality of client care through a process, which is known as quality assurance. "Quality assurance consists of the quality control activities that evaluate, monitor, or regulate the standard of services provided to the consumer" (Lemone & Burke, 7).Obviously, a higher nurse-to-patient ratio in acute-care hospitals significantly improves patient care and safety. Beyond that general principle, one may ask what clues can help patients and their loved ones judge the quality of a facilities nursing care. Nursing facility standards adopted by all states must include requirements to ensure that residents of nursing facilities receive appropriate care, including medical, nutritional, social and pharmaceutical care. (ASCP, 1998) These standards must also ensure residents' rights and quality of their care.There are many ways to assess the quality of care for each...

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