Mandating Nurse-Patient Ratios
· Uniform nurse to patient ratio decreases immortality (“Nurse Staffing,” 2015). One of the reasons behind the many deaths reported in hospitals is understaffing, in particular, of nurses. Some patients, due to the acuity of their conditions, demand specialized attention. Unfortunately, the attention that they so persistently demand is never available, as the few nurses present in that specific hospital have to care for other patients. The situation is even more challenging when the majority of patients demand such type of attention.
· Adequate staffing reduces nurse fatigue (Gordon, Buchanan, and Bretherton, 2008). For a long time, nurses have been complaining about increased workloads. Increased workloads make it impossible for them to perform basic tasks such as turning a patient on the bed. Even worse, work overloads have resulted in delayed administration of prescribed medications. Delaying medication may have several side effects for patients. First, it may worsen the infection. Secondly, the illness may develop into an unremitting pain. Lastly, it may cause death.
· Balancing nurse-patient ratio reduces the physician workload (Vestal, 2013). In America, for example, the shortage of doctors is acute to the extent that some states are considering licensing nurses to work without the supervision of a physician. The just stated implies that maintaining the current ratio of nurses to patients would further trim the already existing wound. Just to mention, contemporary nursing education, unlike that of the past, nurtures and raises a fully baked nurse – one able to do more than traditional nurses.
· Nurses are the primary caregivers in the medical world (Gottlieb, 2012). Doctors prescribe medication whereas nurses carry out the instructions of physicians. Nurses relate to patients more closely than doctors do, attending to their needs and listening to their stories.
Strategies to Influence Votes
The fact that the nurse to patient ratio needs to be even is undisputable (Aiken et al., 2010). Research after research has indicated that there is a strong correlation between the number of nurses and patient health. In environments where the ratio is uniform, studies have not failed to indicate that aspects such as medical errors rarely exist. For that reason, it is proper to advocate for adequate staffing.
The first channel to use will be the existing nurse organizations. It is important to say that such organizations command tremendous power in the healthcare world. In fact, most health legislations, before they ever appear in parliament, in most cases have their roots in these institutions. In consequence, by tabling the proposal to set a threshold of nurses to patient ratio before such agencies, and subsequently ensuring that no one ever forgets it, there is high probability that it will soon be in parliament and afterward become a law.
Another strategy would be ensuring a coherent communication with legislatures. Abood (2007) says that establishing a good communication network with legislators is of great essence in transforming the healthcare world. She says that most issues tabled in parliament come from what legislatures pick from the locals. In consequence, relating with lawmakers is a great stride in the realization of the longed-for changes. Maintaining a close relationship would mean ensuring constant calls, sending emails, and attending meetings among others.
Nurses can influence change through relating with relevant committees. McIntyre et al. (2006) says that nurses can influence policy due to their expertise and centrality in the medical sphere. He declares that the process of making policies is complex, and many factors play into it. Accordingly, it will be important for nurses to understand the process. In this way, they will be able to know the most effective groups in the process. Abood (2007) adds that committees are the center of all policy discussions. For that reason, it will be appropriate to consider them.
Due to the broadness of the state, the following channels will work better: registered nurse organizations, parliamentary committees, state committees, and regular communications with lawmakers. In selecting a registered nurse organization, the following will be the guiding principles: reputation, brand awareness, influencing power, and history. Since meeting with committees individually may be a mountain task, it will be appropriate to rely on the chosen organization to do the job.
Local Level Strategies
The first channel to use will be public forums. One of the upsides of such meetings is that discussions as well as opinions are admissible. In fact, in some forums, anyone can speak, regardless of age, gender, or social ranking. As a result, by using this medium, there are high chances that the proposal will find favor among those who matter in policymaking.
Another effective approach would be providing information to the elected officials (Maryland, 2012). Maryland says that presenting issues to the elected officials can prove to be very rewarding, more so if nurses present them in a concise and factual manner. To achieve this, earlier preparation of information is paramount on the part of nurses. That said, before approaching any of the local lawmakers, it would be necessary to have everything readily prepared.
Finally, the last strategy would be to use locally organized groups. Only in rare instances do bills sail through the parliament. In most cases, the process of law making is long and usually requires a public hearing. Nurses can use such occasions to lobby support for their proposals. In addition, they can use such opportunities to introduce new legislations.
Power to Influence Votes
One of the ways to increase my bargaining power will be to further my education. Presently, we are in the world where education matters most. The more educated one is, the higher the probability that such an individual will command great attention. As a profession, nursing is one of the most complex disciplines in the medical world. Nursing, in simple terms, is all about protecting life. Accordingly, it will be unwise to think that those listening to the proposal will not be keen on the education credentials of the sponsor of the idea. Naturally, they need to be sure that what is proposed comes from an intellectual and not an amateur.
It will be wise for me to join various registered organizations. Such institutions, in contrast to a single individual, have more power to change things. It is even fitting to state that no one has ever succeeded in causing change individually. Usually, one comes up with an idea, joins like-minded people, and as a unit, publishes proposals or grievances. By joining registered agencies, I will be more effective than operating as a lone soldier.
Basing on the recommendations of several scholars, I will endeavor to have a good relationship with those in power. Though it may not be an easy task, I am sure that where there is a will, nothing is impossible. I will first establish a link with my local leaders such as my senator and governor. Afterwards, I will look for ways to relate with those in the state committees. Perhaps, the best way to develop a relationship will be to frequent their meetings, among other techniques such as following their activities on social media.
I will use the strategy of guest blogging on popular blogs. This technique, apart from increasing awareness about the author of a particular blog, attracts more audience to the author. The strategy of guest blogging is the most preferred by those seeking to attract more traffic to their sites. For me, this method would be helpful in increasing my influence in the medical world.