Connecting state and local government leaders
States are creating alternative approaches to solve the heightened problem of filling nursing jobs, according to a report based on American Hospital Association data.
A new national study shows that legislation to mandate higher hospital nurse-to-patient ratios has been a success. But it also shows that mandating public reporting of nurse staffing levels and having hospital staffing committees that include frontline nurses, two other popular approaches to dealing with the shortage, have had little to no impact on boosting nursing staffs.
According to the American Nurses Association, the U.S. health care system faces immense challenges due to nursing staff shortages brought about by cost-cutting decisions, an aging population, increased patient complexity and need, and an aging workforce.
The new study analyzed 16 years of nationally representative data from the American Hospital Association annual survey, from 2003 to 2018. During the study, the researcher compared three types of state legislation aimed toward creating sufficient nurse staffing.
The report provided the California law as an example, which mandated a staffing ratio that led to a significant increase in registered nurse staffing along with nursing assistive personnel. However, the mandate did not affect licensed practical nurse staffing.
This report is said to be the first national study comparing the effects of alternative policy approaches to increase hospital nurse staffing, with findings supporting the positive effects of California’s mandated staffing ratio. It also suggests states and localities are finding ways staffing committees and public reporting can be strengthened.
The AHA outlined a health workforce equity framework, which the organization believes will help guide future research, interventions and policy, ensuring the health care workforce plays a positive role in advancing health equity. The framework includes six interconnected equity domains that looks at:
- The diversity of people entering the workforce.
- Whether their training is grounded in the idea of social mission.
- Whether they are in rural and underserved areas.
- Whether they provide service to those most in need, such as Medicaid patients.
- Whether they practice in ways that acknowledge and help address social determinants of health.
- Whether they work under fair and safe conditions.
For more information on this report click here.
Andre Claudio is assistant editor of Route Fifty.