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Mandating Nurse Staffing in Pennsylvania: More than a Numbers Game

DeVandry, Suzanne N. MSN, RN; Cooper, Jennifer BSN, RN

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: November 2009 - Volume 39 - Issue 11 - p 470-478
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181bd5fe9

Current federal and state legislation for mandated nurse staffing falls short of the ideal plan. Hospital nurse-staffing ratios are inadequate to maintain patient safety and quality nursing care. Mandating fixed nurse-to-patient ratios does not accommodate changes in patients' needs, evolving technology, and experience of nursing staff and will be immediately obsolete. Ideal measurement of nurse staffing incorporates nurse skill level and patient acuity. The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association supports legislation to establish patient acuity-based nurse staffing.

Authors' Affiliations: Doctoral Candidate (Ms DeVandry), Medical University of South Carolina, College of Nursing, Charleston; Master's degree in nursing student (Ms Cooper), Rush University, College of Nursing, Chicago, Illinois.

Corresponding author: Ms DeVandry, 351 N Sumneytown Pike, North Wales, PA 19454 (

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.