AWHONN releases new staffing guidelines

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) recently announced that it has published new perinatal nurse staffing guidelines to reflect the demands of providing care in these settings.

Guidelines for Professional Registered Nurse Staffing for Perinatal Units promotes patient safety and allows perinatal nurses to spend more time caring for mothers and their newborns. The guidelines are endorsed by ANA, the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, and the American College of Nurse Midwives.

“Planning for appropriate nurse staffing is crucial to providing safe and effective care,” said AWHONN’s Chief Executive Officer Karen Peddicord, PhD, RNC. “While these new guidelines are not mandates, they serve as a basis for planning, and help ensure that nurses will be able to spend more time with women in labor and new mothers in order to meet their health care needs and offer more personalized care.”

Recommendations in the new guidelines include the following:

  • Nurses in labor and delivery units should have only one patient to care for if the woman is having her labor induced or chooses a low-tech birth without pain medication.
  • Nurses should have fewer new mothers and babies to care for than in the past.
  • And two nurses should attend every birth, vaginal or cesarean, one to attend the woman and one to attend the baby.

For more information, go to www.awhonn.org. AWHONN is an organizational affiliate of ANA.

Susan Trossman is the senior reporter in ANA’s communications department.

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