Will Travel Nursing Benefit from Mandated Nurse-to-Patient Ratios?


A bill is being considered in the Pennsylvania state legislature that would mandate specific nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals. Legislation currently in place in PA states that hospitals and medical facilities provide “sufficient numbers of personnel to provide nursing care to meet the needs of all residents.” The pending legislation would specify the number of nurses required for each patient in hospitals and acute care facilities.

The legislation is supported by key health care workers unions and by many nursing organizations that believe mandating ratios will lead to more effective patient care and better nurse retention. The legislation is apposed, however, by the ANA which is concerned that mandating minimums will result in hospitals only staffing to the minimum.

It will be interesting to see what effect legislated staffing requirements will have on travel nursing. Census may be low right now but, eventually, this type of legislation coupled with the currently ignored nursing shortage. Flu season is kicking in and, at some point, healthcare legislation will be passed that will make medical care available to tens-of-thousands of citizens currently avoiding needed medical care because of lack of insurance amd exorbitant expense. Travel nurses be prepared to be in demand again. It will happen.

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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  1. In my recent interview with travel nurse and author Epstein LaRue (see my upcoming TNS blog), she mentioned that most hospitals are following the “California standard” of a 5 to 1 patient/nurse ratio. She said that research shows that with every patient that a nurse has above 5, the risk of the nurse making an error increases by 17%. Interesting info. Especially since when I first started as a nurse as I working night shifts with 9 patients! If all hospitals do indeed use this ratio, I can’t imagine how it wouldn’t increase the demand for travel nurses.

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