Nursing Notes

September 6, 2010

Texas Considers Minimum Nurse-to-Patient Staffing Ratios

U.S. Army Nurse at the bedside of a young Iraq...
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I found this today and felt I should post it here.  I read the article and I had to laugh when I got to the last part.  I bet that statement came from a hospital administrator who knows that the nurse on the floor has no control on staffing at all.  I will be following this up since I work in the great state of Texas and serve on my hospital’s Staffing Effectiveness Committee.

I will be trying to find some follow-up since this is from 2009 and I am sure there is more about this initiative somewhere out here on the web.


Texas is considering legislation that would mandate specific nurse-to-patient ratios on certain hospital units, reports. The Texas Hospital Patient Protection Act of 2009 would require one nurse for every four patients on med/surg units, in the emergency department (ED), on postpartum women-only units and on psychiatric units. Meanwhile, the legislation stipulates one nurse for every two patients on intensive care units (ICUs), neonatal ICUs, on the post-anesthesia recovery unit and in the newborn nursery. A one-to-one nurse-to-patient ratio would be required for operating rooms, conscious sedation, labor and delivery and for trauma patients in the ED. The proposed legislation would require only one nurse for every five patients on rehabilitation units. Advocates of the legislation assert that the proposed ratios will allow nurses to more personally treat patients and possibly attract nurses back to the profession. According to the California Nurses Association, after California passed nurse-to-patient ratios, the state saw an influx of 80,000 nurses. The Texas law would also protect whistle-blowers and hold hospitals accountable for violating the measures. Opponents to the proposed measures, meanwhile, say a bill is unnecessary and that bedside nurses, not legislators, are best equipped to determine optimal nursing ratios (Wood,, 1/12/09).

This is a great site and you can read this article and others like it here.

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