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California’s nurse-to-patient staffing law reduces patient deaths, allows nurses to spend more time with each patient and helps keep experienced nurses on the job, a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers documents.
The study shows that if other states followed the California ratios, patients’ lives also would be saved, too. Says Malinda Markowitz, RN, and co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU), the study shows what “California RNs have long known—safe staffing saves lives.”
We see the effects every day at the bedside in improved patient care, an enhanced quality of life for patients and nurses able to more safely practice the profession to which we have dedicated our lives.
The California staffing law was implemented in 2004 following a long fight led by the CNA/NNU. The first-in-the-nation law established a minimum nurse-to-patient ratio of one to five. Before the law was implemented it was not uncommon to find a single nurse in charge of eight, 10, 12 or more patients on a shift.
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