In the field of nursing it is important to know how the legislative process works. Nurses can influence this process in many different ways due to a variety in nursing. Nurses can elaborate health related political issues and evolve the healthcare system. Knowing the current health related political issues is something that should be essential and integrated into a nurse’s knowledge. The purpose of this paper is to familiarize one to the legislative process, review the political process, and analyze a current issue in the state of Ohio.
Political issues are created or processed through the executive, judicial, or legislative branch (Burkhart & Nathaniel, 2014. p 389.). The legislative branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. In order for a political issue to become a law it must be approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are many political issues associated with nursing. These issues can be broken down into different categories. These categories consist of “moral values, professional regulation, health of individuals in society, public health, and distributive justice “(Burkhart & Nathaniel, 2014. p 391.).
A political issue under professional regulation is nurse-patient ratio (Burkhart & Nathaniel, 2014. p 392). Nurse-patient ratio is how many patients a nurse can carry that is safe and adequate. This can vary depending on where a nurse works and what specific unit a nurse may work on. Recent studies have shown that when the nurse workload is high there is an increase in adverse events such as medication administration errors (Harrington & Edelman, July 20, 2018). Studies have also shown that a factor in patient dissatisfaction can be related to inadequate staffing (Helfrich, et al., July, 2017). Quality of care can be impacted by nurse-patient ratio as well. Inadequate transfers, inadequate bathing, poor pressure sore prevention, falls, and other conditions can all be related to staffing (Harrington & Edelman, July 20, 2018).
But there are cons to this political issue as well. Increasing just nursing staff to meet the nurse patient ratio may not help with quality of care if the nursing staff does not have help such as nursing aides. Facility corporation and nurse turn over can still influence patient-ratio being short staffed (Harrington & Edelman, July 20, 2017). Patients that are a higher acuity that require more nursing care can influence nurse-patient ratio (Harrington & Edelman, July 20, 2017). Also relationships between team members like nurse and physician relationships can contribute to safety and quality of care (Helfrich, et al., July, 2017).
Personally patient safety should always be addressed and nurse-patient ratio is one factor that impairs nurses to insure their patients are safe. Quality care may be affected by nurse-patient ratio but making sure your patient receives the best care possible is not a staffing issue. Time management, level of experience, acuity of care, are just a few things that contribute to patient safety and quality of care. I do not think that enforcing the staffing issue will solve patient safety issues. There are so many other factors that contribute to this problem such as heavy workload, work hours, and more. Due to personal experience with nurse-patient ratio and being under staffed I believe this issue should be enforced but other contributing factors should be evaluated.
The political issue nurse patient-ratio is actually in legislative process in the state of Ohio. This bill is Senate bill 55 sponsored by Senator Skindell (“Senate Bill 55”, 2018). As of February 15, 2017 the bill was referred to a committee called Health, Human Services, and Medicaid (“Senate Bill 55”, 2018). The first committee meeting was March 21, 2017 (“Senate Bill 55”, 2018). During that meeting changes were implemented to the bill.
In conclusion nurses can play a powerful role in pushing political issues to help the healthcare system. Not all issues are passed with ease and some may be a tedious. Nurses have a voice and knowing how the process works can help enforce issues. Nurses are advocates for patients, companions, and have an influence on political leaders (American Nurses Association, 2010. p 20.). Nurses are essentially a community that can help make a difference in society. There is satisfaction knowing that a nurse can make a difference in so many ways
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