Assignment: Core Staffing Plan
Rhode Island requires that hospitals submit a “core staffing plan” to the state department of health annually, with specific staffing for each patient care unit and each shift (American Nurses Association, 2013).
The third, and least binding, approach to nurse staffing regulation is to mandate reporting of staffing ratios to the public or to a regulatory agency. In New York, for example, facilities must make available to the public information about nurse staffing and patient outcomes. Specific adverse events, such as medication errors and decubitus ulcers, are considered reportable information under this law. Other states with public reporting requirements are Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. New Jersey’s regulation mandates that hospitals post daily staffing information for each unit and shift and provide these data to state regulators, and in 2009, New York added a similar posting requirement to its regulations.
Even without new legislation, hospitals are likely to continue to focus on nurse staffing improvements as the evidence suggests that nurse staffing is a good financial investment in quality improvement (Rothberg et al., 2005). More research is needed, however, to determine whether the lack of measured benefit from California’s regulation is caused by limitations of prior research or indicative of an actual lack of impact. If California’s regulation can one day be shown to have improved patient outcomes at an acceptable cost, it will be easier for other states to follow in California’s footsteps.
1. It is not clear from the research conducted thus far whether California’s staffing regulations have improved patient outcomes. However, several studies have found that nurse satisfaction has improved and that nurses perceive that they are providing better care. Is improving nurse satisfaction a sufficient reason to establish this type of regulation?
. Several studies have suggested that hospitals responded to the staffing regulations by reducing staffing of non-RN personnel. What might be the benefits and consequences of reducing non-RN staffing?
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