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Nurse to patients ratios Abstract

Nurseto patients ratios


Nursesrequire various strategies to ensure that they achieve high levels ofachievement regarding providing the right kind of care that isnecessary for patients. One of them is the proper nurse-to-patientratio. This aspect majorly touches on the concept of having fewerpatients under a given nurse so that the nurse may be in a goodposition to take good care of them appropriately. In such cases, thenurse will have ample time to ensure that the said patients arewell-taken care of, and all their needs are adequately met. Thepatients will, as a result, receive high-quality care. There arevarious causes of poor nurse-patient ratio. One of them is the poorlevel of the relationship between the management of a given healthfacility and other members of staff. Another problem is based on thelack of willpower on the part of the management who could fail totake actions that are bound to lead to proper treatment of patientsat the given health facility. Where the problem of fewer nursingpersonnel in a health center is addressed, there is bound to beheightened levels of provision of high-quality services to patientsvisiting a health facility.

Tableof Contents

Abstract 2

1. Introduction 3

2. Body 3

2.1 The problem of lack of enough nursing personnel for patients 3

2.2 Causes of poor nurse- patient ratio 5

3. Conclusion 8

4. Recommendations 8

Listof illustrations

Illustration1: The importance of a proper nurse-patient ratio……………………………………5

Illustration2: Causesof the poor nurse-patient ratio……………………………………………..8

Nurseto Patients Ratios

  1. Introduction

Nursesrequire various strategies to ensure that they achieve high levels ofachievement regarding providing the right kind of care that isnecessary for patients. These elements lie in the skills of nurses aswell as the degree of interaction that they have with patients. Thehigher the level of interaction and relationship, the better suchpractices will be at influencing better practices among nurses.Another issue that is of equal importance is that of the ratio ofnurses to patients (Allen,2015).Such a case is quite crucial, given that it helps to reduce fatigueamong the nurses and as support, contribute to improvinginformation-sharing among the nurses. Also, it improves theircapability to brainstorm and come up with better practices that willassist in improving the health of patients in general and as well, goa long way to influence proper recuperation among the patients(Schwab, Meyer, Geffers, &amp Gastmeier, 2012). The paper shall aimto look at the issue of staff to patient ratio quite intently withthe goal of providing the right standards that need to be achievedfor there to be a real action conducted by personnel in the healthsector.

Source:(Allen, 2015)

2.Body2.1The problem of lack of enough nursing personnel for patients

Inspite of the many actions that are put in place by various entities,organizations, and countries, there is a huge gap that exists in theaspect of the nurse to patient ratio. Some people are usually of theview that the ratio need not be quite small as a few nurses canattend to a large number of patients. While the latter part of theargument is entirely correct, the quality of services rendered,however, is usually reduced with an increase in the number ofpatients under the same nurse (Zhu, You, Zheng, Liu, Fang, Hou, &ampWu, 2012). The aspect helps to ensure that the given nurses can putin more focus on the activities that they are taking part in and nothave the need to rush from one point to another as they attend to alarge number of patients. The confusion that could be created in theprocess is usually massive. It also goes without saying that the morea given health care provider is uncoordinated, the more such a personis bound to make mistakes such as forgetting to conduct a basicprocedure for a given patient at the required time, therebyjeopardizing the life of the said patient.

Illustration1: The importance of a proper nurse-patient ratio

Nurseto patient ratio is an issue that many countries, states, and healthfacilities have had to deal with for many years. Most of theseentities see it as an opportunity for delivering high-qualityservices as nurses will need to concentrate on a smaller number ofpeople, thereby, providing the highest quality of care and drawing inthe desired outcomes from the same (Zhu et al., 2012). Such peopleare also bound to increase their ability to think through thespecific processes and procedures that they are taking part in sothat they may be able to ensure that their standards of practice arewell sustained. They achieve so through following the procedures thatthey are doing with extreme keenness. The process is also essentialin that it helps to highlight any areas that health care providerscould have erred for one reason or another and come up with properstrategies that could be used to rectify the problems and helpachieve better outcomes in the end.

Source:(Allen, 2015)

Nurseto patient ratio also helps a given nurse to develop a personal andclose relationship with a healthcare provider. In such a case, such aperson is highly likely to open up regarding his development and someof the challenges that he may be going through. Notably, this wouldbe easier for coming up with solutions that are bound to bring in anachievement in providing the patient with the kind of treatment thathe does require (Shekelle, 2013). The patient will also be willing tobring up any information that could seem embarrassing to him, yetquite crucial in healing to deal with the particular health problemthat he may be having so that he may attain good health and thus, beable to take part in other activities just the same as other people.The nursing, health care provider, may also get to understand thepatient well. The nurse could, for instance, get to know about thevarious likes and dislikes that the patient normally has as well asthe different experiences that the patient has gone through over theyears. Such knowledge is quite valuable in that it enables the nurseto come up with a strategy through which he could motivate thepatient to take part in a given activity such as a therapy that hashigh chances of making him attain good health.

Agood nurse to patient ratio also helps the healthcare facility toachieve high levels of standards regarding practice. Given the factthat patients are given the right kind of attention that theyrequire, there is the chance that various kinds of health problemsthat they may be having will be monitored closely and addressed inthe right manner (Schwabet al., 2012).There is also a high chance that any other health problems that coulddevelop while the patients are at the health facility could behandled promptly and avoid a case where they could develop muchfurther and lead to the deterioration of the health of the givenpatient.

2.2Causes of the poor nurse- patient ratio

Variousaspects result in the inadequate nurse-to-patient ration. Some ofthese are within the control of health facilities while others arebeyond their control (Schwabet al., 2012).In spite of the many actions that health facilities could take toensure that the element of scrutiny is achieved in terms of thenumber of health personnel who are available to take care ofpatients, in most cases, there is bound to be a situation where therewill be a deficit that could take a lot of time to handle.

Oneof the causes of the shortfall in the number of nursing personnel whomay be available to take care of patients is the lack of willpower inthe managements of health facilities to come up with actions thatwill ensure that the various patients that come to the center areaccorded better support (Shekelle, 2013). In such cases, most ofthese patients could be left under the care of very few nurses whocould be overworked as they try to meet the needs of the differentpatients found in the facility. Some of them could end up beingreckless in their duties, given the fact that they find the differentactivities that they may need to take part in quite hectic for themto handle. Under such instances, the general reduction in the qualityof services offered at the health facility is usually quite clear asthe health personnel would feel that the management is not doingeverything in its power to address the different needs that do existat the facility.

Illustration2: Causes of poor nurse-patient ratio

Anothersource of the problem could be the detachment between the managementof the facility and the operational staff. In such cases, there couldbe a lack of proper sharing of information among the differentindividuals involved. The executive team could, therefore, fail toopen up on some of the challenges that they may be going through,which may include the need to have additional nursing staff who mayaid to make working at the facility more bearable (Hensley, Carson, &ampOkeke, 2013). The extent of the detachment is usually determined bythe attitude that the management portrays to other members of staffand the general form of interaction that it does have with them. Incases where such kind of interaction is weak, other members of staffcould feel restrained regarding the various issues that theytypically go through. Such a situation could, thereby, make thesituation even much worse than it already is. The case is becauseeven other challenges that do exist could develop.

Mosthealth facilities are privately owned and rely on making profits toremain profitable. With such a view in mind, the management willfocus on the minimization of the cost of operations and at the sametime aims to maximize the returns that they do get in the end. Thereare situations whereby the number of clients that a health facilityreceives in a given period varies significantly (Schwabet al., 2012).The management will always take proper measures to ensure that itdoes employ the maximum number of nurses to provide the kind ofservices that are necessary at the health facility. However, thereare high chances that it could fail to increase the number of nurseswhen the number of clients appears to grow to levels that are abovewhat they usually receive. Such instances will, automatically, leadto a situation whereby some members of staff will need to beoverworked. It is such cases that are usually an explicitrepresentation of poor nurse-patient ratio.

Othercauses of poor nurse-patient ratio lie in some health facilitiesfailing to carry out proper needs assessment. In such situations, themanagement could fail to identify a problem that exists concerningfewer nursing staff at the health facility and, therefore, not comeup with proper ways that could help deal with the problemappropriately (Allen, 2015). There are other situations where theneeds assessment activity could be carried out, but handled in areckless manner to the point that it fails to identify the realissues that the hospital faces and ways through which they could besolved. One of the causes of such occurrences could be whenincompetent people are used in conducting the assessment. Individualswho are not entirely aware of the vision and mission of the hospitalcould also take the matter quite lightly as they may fail tounderstand the significant role that such a process does and the kindof benefits that it would bring out if all the procedures arefollowed to the letter.

Thereare also situations whereby bureaucracy reduces the capability of agiven health institution to employ the right number of nursing staffwho are commensurate with the number of patients that typically visitthe facility. The concept touches on the high levels of elaborateconsultations that may, sometimes need to take place to come up withdecisions that affect the performance of a given health facility(Hensley et al., 2013). The problem most often comes in where a givenhealth institution is part of a group of others. In such cases, mostof the decisions that are made regarding the said group ofestablishments are mostly central and do require the input of manypeople. Such huge lines of consultations serve as a huge barriergiven that by the time that a decision is made to hire more nursingpersonnel, the time is usually well gone and the patients found atthe health institution could have suffered in a major way due to theprovision of low-quality services.


Healthfacilities need to prevent a situation whereby the health of a givenpatient is put in jeopardy due to some form of negligence that couldhave been committed by the health care providers of the healthfacility. Such actions could be through identifying the actual numberof nursing staff that it requires and filling the gap. In cases wherethere is a balance in the number of nursing staff required and thenumber of patients who are at a given health facility, the hospitalis bound to provide the right level of quality services that thepatients need (Schwabet al., 2012).Most of the nurses who work at the institution will also feelencouraged and valued as they will not be overworked unnecessarily.They shall also have the time necessary to think things through,certainly, and make proper decisions regarding ways to which they maybe able to provide the highest level of care to patients who areunder their care.


Thereare various solutions that health facilities could put into use toensure that the problem of the poor nurse-patient ratio is addressedwith high levels of effectiveness. One of them lies in theimprovement of the degree of interaction between the management andother members of staff. In such cases, these members shall developthe free will to share any form of problems and challenges that theymay be facing, with the management, for helping to address thespecific problems and achieve good performance in the long run(Shekelle, 2013). One of the measures that could be put in place topromote the level of interaction among these groups of people is byorganizing team-bonding sessions. Through such activities, the gapbetween them reduces quite significantly, and they find it quite easyto communicate with one another effectively.

Therecould also be the organization of forums and seminars among thedifferent employees of a given health facility who could come in tofind out ways to which they could help improve the kind of servicesthat they do offer to the health center. The personnel could,therefore, use such a moment to air out some of the grievances thatthey may be having some of which relate to the fact that they couldbe overworked to the point that they are not in a position to offerthe right kind of services to patients who visit the hospital. Insuch cases, the management will be able to take the health personnelquite seriously, given the fact that they do represent a criticalpart of the health institution and the success of the health systemis mostly edged on the kind of services that such people do offer. Inthe cases where the health personnel is free to provide all thedetails that they have regarding the problem that they have, theycould go a long way to help reduce the problem of poor nurse-patientratio.

Themembers of the management of the health facility may also need thewillpower to solve some of the challenges that the health centercould be experiencing. They could form a practice whereby they meetfrom time to time and deliberate on the most pressing issues that doface the institution. Such members could obtain the problems throughthe various interactive sessions that they may be having with thestaff (Schwabet al., 2012).They would need to be quite objective-oriented in that they save alot of time which would go into consultations and avoiding dealingwith the actual problem. In such cases, the management will be in aposition to brainstorm in a much quicker fashion and come up with ameasure that could help bridge the nurse-patient gap, thereby,improving the level of health service offered.

Themanagement could also make use of competent people as well as thosewho are well aware of the vision of the health facility to collectthe specific data that is required for assessing the various needsthat may exist in the health facility (Allen, 2015). Through carryingout such actions, the management can identify the specific needs thatwould need to be addressed for heightening the levels of servicesthat are offered to the patients.


Allen,S. B. (2015). Nurse-Patient Assignments: Moving Beyond Nurse-PatientRatios for Better Patient, Staff and Organizational Outcomes.

Hensley,C. N., Carson, J. L., &amp Okeke, A. A. (2013). To be saved or notto be saved, that is the question! Nurse to Patient ratios and itseffects on Patients.

Schwab,F., Meyer, E., Geffers, C., &amp Gastmeier, P. (2012).Understaffing, overcrowding, inappropriate nurse: ventilated patientratio and nosocomial infections: which parameter is the bestreflection of deficits?.&nbspJournalof Hospital Infection,&nbsp80(2),133-139.

Shekelle,P. G. (2013). Nurse–patient ratios as a patient safety strategy: asystematic review.&nbspAnnalsof internal medicine,&nbsp158(5_Part_2),404-409.

Zhu,X. W., You, L. M., Zheng, J., Liu, K., Fang, J. B., Hou, S. X., … &ampWu, Z. J. (2012). Nurse staffing levels make a difference on patientoutcomes: a multisite study in Chinese hospitals.&nbspJournalof Nursing Scholarship,&nbsp44(3),266-273.


[Nameof University]


November18, 2016

Dr.[Name of tutor]

[Addressof tutor]

DearDr. [Surname of tutor]

Isubmit herewith, a research paper in accordance with fulfillingsyllabus objectives in the course of [name of course]. The paperdeals with nurse-patient ratio

Ifully look forward to your feedback. Thank you


[Nameof student]