Charting the Globe, 18 April, 2013

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Charting the Globe is a regular Nurse Uncut series that brings you the nursing and midwifery stories making headlines around the world.

Today: Nurse to patient ratios in the US, a wage victory in India, and a new mobile app for nurses.

Nurse-to-patient ratios bill put forth in United States

US Senator Barbara Boxer is fighting for federally-mandated nurse-to-patient ratios.

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer has proposed federally-legislated nurse-to-patient ratios in legislation that would allow the United States government to audit and penalise hospitals that fail to meet them.

The bill is intended to help ease America’s shortage of nurses and to improve patient safety and care.

“I am proud to introduce legislation that will help save the lives of countless patients by improving the quality of care in our nation’s hospitals,” Boxer said. “We must support the nurses who work tirelessly every day to provide the best possible care to their patients.”

The bill is not the first of its kind to be put forth on patient ratios: two previous bills put by Boxer have failed to advance through Congress.

Importantly, the bill states hospitals cannot meet quotas by simply averaging the number of patients in their facilities – but must meet specific quotas for critical care, emergency rooms, medical-surgical units, and rehabilitation units.

It also provides for investment in nurse mentoring programs to prepare nurses for work in a hospital setting.

A ‘small victory’ for nurses in Karala, India

Nurses protest in Karala, India. Source: The Hindu

Private sector nurses in Karala, in south-west India, have won wage increases of up to 35 per cent, as a result of a long and hard-fought campaign in which nurses staged months of protests.

Under the terms of the agreement, nurses in hospitals with up to 20 beds have won a basic pay rise from Rs.5400 (AU$97) to Rs.9500 (AU$170), with higher scaling for nurses in hospitals with more beds.

“It is a small victory, but victory nevertheless,” India’s United Nurses Association president Jasmin Sha told The Hindu.

Mobile nursing? 

Back to the United States now, and a new mobile phone app has been launched which which allows nurses to access patient education, drug calculators and nursing recommendations using their iPhone.

The Mosby’s Nursing Consult App draws updated information from Mosby’s Nursing Consult.

But it’s not the first app of its kind on the market — there are various ingenious smartphone applications out there which can assist nurses with everything from drug calculation, to infectious disease queries, to ECG interpretation. There’s even one you can use to make soothing sounds to relax during your lunch break – if you get one!

Scrubs magazine has a great write-up of mobile apps for nurses.

Don’t miss yesterday’s tribute to the nurses of Boston. 

Do you use mobile apps as a nurse? What do you think of the idea? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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