Higher Nurse to Patient Ratios Paper

The instructions given by my professor:

Purpose: The purpose of the EBP paper (parts 1, 2 and 3) is to apply the process and principles of evidence-based nursing to a pertinent clinical issue or problem that you choose. Remember that while medicine focuses on diseases and pathology, NURSING focuses on the human response to health states, conditions, and treatments Higher Nurse to Patient Ratios Paper.

Description: Evidence-based paper part 1. This is an individual assignment. Choose a nursing issue or problem that is important to you. Consider how you will investigate the background of the problem. Develop a PICOT question, purpose statement and search plan that you can use to further investigate this issue. See Appendices A and B in the Melnyk text for additional help. Using the following rubric, write a paper. Excluding the title and reference pages, this is a two-page paper.

This is a formal scholarly paper that should be written in the third person. Each paragraph should contain at least three well-written, concise sentences. Short, analytical sentences are preferred. Paraphrase whenever possible; direct quotes are discouraged. Correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting are required. This is a formal APA paper that includes a title and reference page; format all citations and references according to APA standards Higher Nurse to Patient Ratios Paper .
Background on clinical nursing issue

The clinical nursing issue under review is whether increasing the nurse to patient ratio would reduce medication errors and falls. There are mixed sentiments concerning whether or not optimizing nurse to patient ratios will improve care outcomes and reduce the occurrence of mistakes. In fact, Yoder-Wise (2013) explains that having a high nurse to patient ratio is desirable whereby each nurse would handle a smaller number of patient. The high ratios are desirable since there is a 7% rise in the number of deaths reported for every additional patient that a nurse handles within a roster. Huston (2014) departs from this idea by mentioning that there is no causal relationship between nurse to patient ratio and the fatalities reported among patients receiving nursing care. It further adds that it would be wrong to present the generalization that having each nurse handle a smaller number of patients improves care quality and outcomes. This point is explained that individual patients and care units present variations that influence cases thus making it difficult to identify an optimum nurse-patient ratio, as well as whether or not increasing nurse to patient ratios improves care or it simply creates waste and redundancies. Besides that, the notion of increasing nurse to patient ratios is likely to attract high costs, especially when the ratios must be linked to different treatment complexity levels and health care intensities (Huston, 2014).

Although the notion that increasing the nurse to patient ratio would improve care outcomes is debatable, the reality is that increasing the ratios while considering acuity levels is likely to improve care outcomes. Acuity is considered under the premise that assigning weights to patients based on their care needs rather than numbers would present an accurate indication of the amount of care that each patient needs within a given time. For example, a patient requires a weight and vitals examination would require 10 minutes while a patient requiring a catheter replacement would require 20 minutes. This means that the number of patients assigned to each nurse would be based on level of care complexity that each patient requires. Through increasing nurse to patient ratios, but basing the increase decisions on acuity, it would be possible to predict and track nursing needs to minimize staffing waste and maximize productivity for the hours and patients assigned to each nurse (Kidd et al., 2014). Mensik (2012) supports these sentiments by noting that nursing personnel would practice to their full scope when they are assigned tasks that make full use of their competencies, knowledge and skills. Given that nurses (unlike other medical personnel) are primary caregivers who deal with all patient designations by integrating and coordinating care with other medical professions. This means that increasing nurse to patient ratios would improve care outcomes (Mensik, 2012) Higher Nurse to Patient Ratios Paper.

PICOT question

The PICOT question for the issue under consideration is presented that: “Among patients receiving nursing care (P), can increasing the nurse to patient ratio (I) versus not having low nurses to patient ratios (C) reduce incidence of medication errors and falls (O) over a period of three months (T)?”

Purpose statement

The study intends to show that increasing patient to nurse ratio improves nurses’ capacity to deliver medical care thereby reducing the incidence of medication errors and falls among patients.

Search plan

The search terms applied in the study will include nurse to patient ratio, acuity, and nurse staffing optimization. The search terms are informed by the research purpose. The search would be limited to materials published after 2011 to improve their relevance and ensure that the ideas they present are current. The search for literature using the identified search terms would be conducted Google Scholar, CINAHL Plus Full Text, and MEDLINE Plus Full-Text databases. These databases were selected because they present peer-reviewed publications that would inform the study. The search


Huston, C. (2014). Professional issues in nursing: challenges and opportunities (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Kidd, M., Grove, K., Kaiser, M., Swoboda, B. & Taylor, A. (2014). A new patient-acuity tool promotes equitable nurse-patient assignments. American Nurse Today, 9(3), 1-4.

Mensik, J. (2012). The nurse manager’s guide to innovative staffing. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.

Yoder-Wise, P. (2013). Leading and managing in nursing (5th ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier Health Sciences Higher Nurse to Patient Ratios Paper .

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