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Mandatory nurse/patient ratios: A good idea or not?

ISSUES IN NURSING
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Most nurses feel the pinch of understaffing, but are legislated nurse/patient ratios the answer? Consider the pros and cons and decide for yourself.

Most nurses feel the pinch of understaffing, but are legislated nurse/patient ratios the answer? We posed the question to six nurses who are well versed in the controversy. See if you agree with their viewpoints.

We invite your response to the issues discussed here. Send your comments to “Issues in Nursing”, Nursing2003, 1111 Bethlehem Pike, P.O. Box 908, Springhouse, PA 19477, or e-mail to nursing@lww.com. Include your address, credentials, and tele-phone number.

OUR READERS continue to tell us that their nursing units are chronically understaffed and that they have too many patients to care for on each shift. Many nurses have concluded that legislated nurse/patient ratios are the only way to force employers to staff nursing units adequately. But not everyone agrees.

We asked six guest panelists to give us their views on the issue. Consider the pros and cons they raise here and decide what you think.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.