Legally mandated nurse-to-patient ratios are one of the most controversial topics in health care today. Ratio advocates believe that minimum staffing levels are essential for quality care, better working conditions, and higher rates of RN recruitment and retention that would alleviate the current global nursing shortage. Opponents claim that ratios will unfairly burden hospital budgets, while reducing management flexibility in addressing patient needs.
Safety in Numbers is the first book to examine the arguments for and against ratios. Utilizing survey data, interviews, and other original research, Suzanne Gordon, John Buchanan, and Tanya Bretherton weigh the cost, benefits, and effectiveness of ratios in California and the state of Victoria in Australia, the two places where RN staffing levels have been mandated the longest. They show how hospital cost cutting and layoffs in the 1990s created larger workloads and deteriorating conditions for both nurses and their patients-leading nursing organizations to embrace staffing level regulation. The authors provide an in-depth account of the difficult but ultimately successful campaigns waged by nurses and their allies to win mandated ratios. Safety in Numbers then reports on how nurses, hospital administrators, and health care policymakers handled ratio implementation.
With at least fourteen states in the United States and several other countries now considering staffing level regulation, this balanced assessment of the impact of ratios on patient outcomes and RN job performance and satisfaction could not be timelier. The authors' history and analysis of the nurse-to-patient ratios debate will be welcomed as an invaluable guide for patient advocates, nurses, health care managers, public officials, and anyone else concerned about the quality of patient care in the United States and the world.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
"Very timely. The authors offer a thorough review of nurse-patient ratios, looking specifically at California and Victoria, Australia (both are places that have mandated low nurse-to-patient ratios) . . . showing how nurses, hospital administrators, and health care policy makers have embraced and implemented low, safe ratios. It is crucial reading for health care professionals and administrators, upper-level undergraduates and graduate students, researchers, and general readers-anyone who is a patient, may someday be a patient, or knows a patient."-Choice
"Safety in Numbers is destined to become a classic. Well-written and engaging, it compares and contrasts mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in Australia and California and presents the broader context for the initiatives and their impact on nurses and the profession, as well as larger issues in health care and the labor movement more generally."-Sean P. Clarke, Associate Director, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, and Class of 1965 25th Reunion Term Associate Professor of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
"Safety in Numbers brings together scholarly rigor and sharp investigative reporting to show that not even the nursing of the sick has escaped the ruthless disciplines of white-collar industrialism. As a remedy, Suzanne Gordon, John Buchanan, and Tanya Bretherton also demonstrate the value and limitations of mandated nurse-to-patient ratios. This book is essential reading in the political economy of health care."-Simon Head, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
"Anyone who's been in a hospital lately knows there aren't enough nurses but probably doesn't know why. Safety in Numbers does a great service by portraying in a graphic and compelling way the origins of the current crisis in nursing and the effect not only on nurses but also on patients."-Mary Lehman MacDonald, Director, AFT Healthcare, American Federation of Teachers
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