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NRS-433V Introduction to Nursing Research, Grand Canyon University

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Topic: Effect Of A Higher Nurse To Patient Ratio On Quality Of Care, Compared To A Lower Nurse To Patient Ratio

Introduction: The high nurse ratio to patients is a prevalent notion in acute care settings in Australia. This study discusses a comparison of the higher nurse to patient ratio and lower nurse to patient ratio as well as how it affects the quality of care.

Question: Identify the clinical problem and how it can result in a positive patient outcome.

Answer: Thesis statement: The impact of the ratio of higher nurse to patient ratio has known to have negative impact or poor outcomes concerning the quality of patient care. This study explores the impact of a higher nurse to patient ratio as well as a lower nurse to patient ratio and the respective impact on the quality of care for the patients in an acute care setting.

Effect of higher nurse ratio on quality of care compared to the lower nurse to patient ratio

Though understaffing is rarely prevalent among hospitals and other acute care settings in Australia, this research provides insight into the impact that a higher nurse to patient ratio has on the quality of care provided to the patients. It may be stated in this regards that it had been a prevalent concept that excessive workloads on nurses gave rise to a higher nurse to patient ratio (Falk & Wallin, 2016). Hence the higher ratio of the nurses to the patients has been attributed to the poor outcomes with regards to the patients. It is to be taken into account, several research on the subject has illustrated that 1:4 nurse to patient ratio can be regarded as satisfactory and have demonstrated significant outcomes in terms of patient outcomes (Junttila et al., 2016). Though, it is to be noted that an accurate and optimal nurse to patient ratio has not been provided, the satisfactory levels has been set to 1:4 (Junttila et al., 2016).

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In addition to that, the outcomes of a lower nurse to patient ratio had been studied to make a comparative analysis. The cases dealing in the patient outcomes when the ratio had been set between 1:4 and 1:8 from best to worst staffing ratios had been considered in this regards (Arkin, Lee, Mcdonald & Hernandez-Boussard, 2014). It has been noted that the patients under these circumstances in an acute care setting demonstrated an increased mortality rate of approximately 31% (Arkin, Lee, Mcdonald & Hernandez-Boussard, 2014). It is to be mentioned in this context that the studies on this subject had been undertaken over a period of more than 10 years taking the impact of the nurse to patient ratios into account. It was found that nurses also experienced dissatisfaction in case of twice the workloads and under the worst staffed conditions (Lee et al., 2017). Furthermore, multiple studies have pointed out that the nurse to patient ratio cannot serve as a measure for the workload of the nurses (Lee et al., 2017).

In addition to that, a connection between the mortality rate and the staffing had been established, stating that the worst staffed hospitals in Australia had demonstrated a mortality rate ranging from 26% to 29% (Macphee, Dahinten & Havaei, 2017). It has therefore been evident that the increase in the allocation of patients had led to negative impacts on patient outcomes (Echevarria & Walker, 2015). Therefore, adequate measures could be identified as maintaining an optimum nurse to patient ratio in order to enhance the patient outcomes in an acute care setting.

Conclusion: This study provides an insight into more than 10 years of research into the subject of nurse to patient outcomes. It had been evident that lower nurse to patient ratio has yielded positive patient outcomes in acute care settings.

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