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Does Mandating Nurse-Patient Ratios Improve Care?

As more than a dozen states consider laws to establish hospital nurse-to-patient ratios, what has been the experience in California—the first state to establish such a rule—since the policy took full effect in 2005?

Do patients get better care, experience fewer adverse events, and have shorter lengths of stay and lower mortality? Are nurses doing a better job, and by extension, are doctors and other hospital workers? And how much has the increased expense affected hospitals’ bottom lines?

Unfortunately, a solid answer remains elusive. As one might expect, hospitals and nursing organizations are divided in their perception of how things are going. The California Nurses Association says the ratios have improved nurse retention, raised the numbers of qualified nurses willing to work, reduced burnout, and improved morale.

Read full article.

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