Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

Are there National Standards for Safe Nursing Levels at Hospitals?

Career News May 3, 2013

National standards for safe nursing – it seems like a given. Should all of us have some sort of legal responsibility when offering life-saving care? You would think so, but you would be wrong because there is not any national standard for safe staffing levels in nursing. What you may have heard about, however, is state regulated standards. Still, that does not thoroughly address the lack of planning because only a few states have actually implemented any rules.

Which States Are Leading the Way?

Fifteen out of 50 states, as well as the nation’s capital, have passed laws pertaining to safe nurse staffing levels. This progress has been made within the last 14 years. California was one of the first states to create legislation, and specifically address the all pertinent issue of the patient to nurse ratio. When there is more individual attention, obviously, greater care can be provided, and many states picked up on this.

National Standards – Are They Needed?

In theory, national standards protect patients, guaranteeing a minimal amount of quality care. State levels can always surpass the national level. However, passing minimum national standards has proven problematic. Two bills were created within the last three years, and both concerned hospitals, and how they employ nurses. These bills have been sent to committees and now facing votes. However, they have yet to make it to the floor. Obviously, nursing groups are supporting these bills, but their support is not enough.

What is Stated in the Bills?

You might be nervous at the idea of standardizing everything, so let’s discuss what the bills actually say and if there are any foreseeable problems. The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act is fairly upfront. It states, all facilities that handle Medicare would have to incorporate unit-by-unit staffing rules. There needs to be a minimum number of registered nurses on duty at all hours of operation, and this number would be based on the number of patients. The plan, however, would still be created by the facility’s own staff committee. What is required, hypothetically speaking, is to have more than half of the committee with direct care nurses.

The National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act

This is another part of the legislation, and it states that facilities would be required to create a staffing plan that meet a minimum ratio number for registered nurses to patients. Similar rules would be required for Licensed Practical Nurses.

Which is the Better Choice?

Nurses’ unions, staffed by working nurses who deal with daily nursing issues, would like the ratio-based bill over the committee-based bill. The reason being is it will be easier to ensure, enforce and maintain without interference. Those in favor of the committee-based model said ratio plans are not practical, considering there are multiple issues that cannot be addressed through standardized rules.

The Latest in National Legislation News

Ultimately, the question boils down to who knows best – the nurses who work with patients or the administrators who know the ins and outs of the hospital? Regardless, the legislation will eventually be discussed and debated. In general, average legislative bills can take anywhere from five to ten years to be approved. In fact, California, the trailblazer of states took well over ten years to pass their state-regulated standard for nursing level quality.

This will remain a fascinating subject to watch as it will affect the future of your profession and perhaps even your future working environment.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
2 Program(s) Found
South University , Virginia Beach
  • Several nursing programs are available at the bachelor's, post-graduate, master's, and doctoral levels.
  • Graduate-level specialization options include Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, and more.
  • Nursing programs are available at many of the 11 campus locations across the United States.
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
  • Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
  • GCU offers a variety of opportunities to reduce the cost of furthering your education. Campus students may qualify for scholarships, while online students can take part in limited special offers.
  • A regionally accredited university, GCU also holds specialized accreditations and approvals for some of our core program offerings.
  • Degrees in business, education, nursing, humanities and social sciences, theology and more. Find the degree that fits you.
  • Talk to us today to learn more about financial aid and start dates!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Health Care degrees include BA in Health Care Administration, BS in Health Information Management, BS in Nursing (RN to BSN), and more.
  • Coursework focuses on relevant topics in the health care field, such as administration, planning, and policy.
  • Students can specialize in areas like Human Resource Management, Health Care Informatics Systems, and Long-Term Care Management.
  • Online degree programs that can help students pursue a degree on their own schedule.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Recognized as a Top 20 Best Online Bachelor’s Program by U.S. News & World Report in 2016.
  • Online, campus-based, and evening courses offered in 95 areas of study, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, & more.
  • Endorsed by G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education magazine as a Military Friendly School in 2015.
  • Features small class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 23 to 1.
  • 88% of Regent University students receive financial aid, with $18 million awarded in institutional scholarships & aid each year.
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Nursing Degree Programs from Grand Canyon University's College of Nursing & Health Care Professions
  • Degree Variety: GCU offers a full-spectrum of nursing programs including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as post-master’s certificates.
  • The baccalaureate degree in nursing and master's degree in nursing at Grand Canyon University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.aacn.nche.edu-accreditation).
  • GCU provides a Christian environment that provides an opportunity for you to embrace a holistic approach to caring for patients: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Depending on the degree you choose, you could take online, evening, or on-campus classes. Speak with an enrollment counselor to discuss your options!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
3 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 8th among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Health Care degrees include BA in Health Care Administration, BS in Health Information Management, BS in Nursing (RN to BSN), and more.
  • Coursework focuses on relevant topics in the health care field, such as administration, planning, and policy.
  • Students can specialize in areas like Human Resource Management, Health Care Informatics Systems, and Long-Term Care Management.
  • Online degree programs that can help students pursue a degree on their own schedule.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!