Our Readers Respond

Our Readers Respond — Nurse staffing and the patient experience

I found this article (“Nurse staffing and patient experience outcomes: A close connection”) by Nell Buhlman very interesting and logical. I believe that a patient experience depend very much on the ratio of nurses to patients. As a palliative care nurse, I have witnessed how the care is different when we have full staffing on the unit versus short staffing. What I mean by full staffing is a ratio of one nurse to four patients. By having full nursing staff, we have more time to communicate with both the patients and the family members. We make sure that we make hourly rounding, and the patients are very happy when they see that the staff are checking on them on an hourly basis. Also, by doing the hourly round we are able to catch early the patients who are in pain and medicated them on a timely manner. The patients do not have to wait for thirty minutes before a call bell is being answered. Which very much different when we are short of staff and our nurses to patient ratio are a one to six or seven. Whether someone is a skilled nurse or not there is no way that he or she can provide high-quality nursing care when staffing is not fair or appropriate.

As patient safety should be the goal of care; therefore; it will be good that authorities pass the safe staffing law because it will save lives and it will promote better quality nursing care. The patients depend on us the nurses to get better, but with shortage of nurse staffing sometimes we do not have the time to give that quality care which put their life at stake. Safe nursing staffing is a must, although other component played a role as well in the patient’s experience but nurse staffing is a priority. When we have adequate staffing we can improve our Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) score.

Johanne Cadet, BSN student

              Medgar Evers College


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