7 Reasons why NSW needs guaranteed nurse-to-patient ratios

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This March, nurses and midwives across NSW are fighting for guaranteed nurse-to-patient ratios in health facilities. Here’s 7 reasons why we need nurse-to-patient ratios now!

1.Ratios saves lives

International research has shown time and time again that safe staffing ratios decreases mortality rates in hospital. For example, research by Dr Linda Aiken indicates that an increase of one patient to a nurse’s workload increases the likelihood of an in-patient death within 30 days of admission by 7%.

2. Ratios prevents mistakes from happening

Unsafe staffing levels require nurses to make hard decisions about how much time they spend with their patients. This results in nurses making errors in their line of duty. With safe staffing, nurses will have more time to deliver to consider their decisions and make less mistakes.  

3. Ratios reduces incidents of missed care

With less nurses, critical care can often be missed. A study found that nurses missed care ranging from emotional care and support, patient mobility, and assessment and document where there were insufficient numbers of nurses.

4. Patient satisfaction increases with safe staffing

Research shows that patient satisfaction scores tend to be higher in hospitals with lower nurse-to-patient ratios. One study found that patients were 10% more likely to recommend a hospital where they had safer staffing.

5. Ratios reduces nurse burnout

Nurses in adequately staffed hospitals were more likely to report higher levels of nurse satisfaction and lower levels of nurse burnout. This reduces the number of nurses who leave the system for greener pastures.

6. Ratios save money

With less nurses leaving the health system, hospitals are able to save money on retraining and education costs. Further, with an increase in the quality of patient care with safe nurse-to-patient ratios, patient readmissions are starkly reduced – saving the Government millions on further health costs.

7. Ratios work

Domestic and international experience has found that nurse-to-patient ratios work. After California introduced nurse-to-patient ratios in 1999, adverse patient outcomes decreased significantly. Similarly, the quality of patient safety has improved in both Victoria and Queensland after ratios were introduced in those states.

This election, we need a Government that will deliver guaranteed nurse-to-patient ratios in NSW. Pledge to vote for Ratios: www.ratioslifeordeath.org.au

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