- After the implementation of the nurse staffing ratios, nurses in California care for a fewer patients each. In the surgical units where nurse retention had proven difficult, the nurses cared for two fewer patients as compared to nurses in New Jersey, and 1.7 fewer patients than in Pennsylvania (Aiken et al. 2010).
- Along with reports on little support from the subordinate staff, there is little evidence of inadvertent results of the California legislation that could impact the quality of the nurse work environment or patient care negatively as expected (Aiken et al., 2010).
- Though the mandated ratios were attained with either LVNs or RNs, 85% of nurses reported for the same or reduced use of the former. More than 40% of California nurses reported increased use of supplementary workers. The study indicates that the use of supplemental nurses is linked with fewer cases of injuries (Aiken et al., 2010).
- With a high proportion of nurses in hospitals whose patient duty conforms to the standard set of the California-mandated ratios the job dissatisfaction and nurse burnout is lower (Aiken et al., 2010). In addition, nurses are less likely to describe the quality of their work setting as fair or poor. They will most likely not report that their workload makes them miss the changes in the conditions of the patients, and it is unlikely for the nurses to leave their jobs (Aiken et al., 2010).
- Similarly, if the percentage of conformity with the set standards in California ratios is high, irrespective of the location of the hospital, it is unlikely for the nurses to report cases of dissatisfaction from patients or families, lack of confidence in the ability of patients to cope after discharge, verbal abuse of nurses by staff or patients, and only fair or poor quality of care (Aiken et al., 2010).
Strategies to Influence Votes
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At the local level, there is a myriad of strategies that nurses can use to influence votes of legislators on nurse-patient ratios. They range from making simple call or writing to an editor to express one’s opinion (Abood, 2007). In addition, the nurse advocate should identify people who share the same opinion and start a lobby group in case none exists or join an existing one. The group will be aimed at making a change in nursing. The group will comprise of community members.
Along with that, one can contact the media, especially the channel that is most popular in that particular location. The media will choose the right way to express to the community the nurse’s opinion on the issue in the best possible way.
Lastly, one can attend local meetings and create awareness of the problem, as well as propose solutions (Abood, 2007). At the meetings, allow for the community to give their opinion and suggest solutions, as well. At the end, a more informed decision will be made.
In contrast to the local level where the health issues are not complex and can be resolved by the dedicated efforts of an individual, at the state level, very little change can occur, without the combined efforts of numerous groups working together to achieve the desired goal (Abood, 2007).
At the state level, health care policies are complex. Therefore, to achieve a solution, they necessitate the knowledge and concerted efforts of professional lobbyists, organized groups, and pro-longed sustained activities. According to Abood (2007), joining a professional nursing organization is an important strategy to encourage individual advocacy efforts. Nurses who are part of an organized professional group are at an advantage as opposed to individual nurses. The reason for this is the fact that they have more resources and in a position to plan more effectively to bring the perspective of nursing to health policy decision makers. In addition, the professional nursing organizations always supervise public policies, and they suggest ways, in which their members can be trained on health policy. At the same time, they serve as resource centers for reliable information on policy makers and policy issues (Abood, 2007).
Using professional associations at the state level to influennce is important because the association will provide information and tools to ascertain that supportive nursing candidates are elected or remain office for a good course (Abood, 2007). The associations require their members to register and vote in all elections.
Another strategy is the indirect technique. The interested nursing advocates can influence the votes by working through others who are constituents of the general nursing. Through using the indirect technique, the efforts of the interested group will appear to be spontaneous. The interested nursing advocates will stimulate the public and make them pressure legislators to enact a change. The efforts include mass mailings and internet postings.
Finally, nurses can influence the process by attending committee hearings. At the hearings, nurses can request an opportunity to express their views (Abood, 2007). This will be possible if the nurses form an organized group as opposed to doing it individually. The group communicates its position on an issue to the committee members and explores who supports its legislations.
Increasing My Power to Influence Votes
As nurses take their issues to the legislative arena, it is important to determine, which strategies are most effective. The first strategy is increasing credentials. This will help the nurses demonstrate and document their skills thus increasing their ability to fill and influence policy (Abood, 2007).
Second is joining professional organizations. Evidently, being in a group enhances resources to reach the desired outcome.
The third strategy is networking with those who have power in the nursing field. The legislative arena always has key players with the ability to influence the outcome of a proposed legislation. This includes the legislator, the chairpersons of relevant health committees, and the heads of professional associations. With the support of such people, a nurse has the considerable power to influence legislation since the issue will appear to have a firm and cohesive preference.
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