Mandating nurse patient ratios

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For example, many nurses injure their backs they try to move patients.

The nurse may weigh 130 pounds and the patient weighs 200 pounds.

These data were drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.

This Survey, authorized by the OSHA law, has been collecting information on occupational injuries and illnesses from 160,000 to over 250,000 private establishments since the1970s.

"Even if a nurse has to go to the bathroom, someone has to be covering." Whether having constant coverage is actually needed or is beneficial has "never been subjected to rigorous scrutiny. "The law does not call for the ratios to be applied at all times, and the HPC [Health Policy Commission] explicitly said that the staffing requirements apply on all shifts, but not at all moments during the shift," says Joan M.

Do you really need to have coverage every minute, or could you get by with short periods of shared coverage? Vitello, Ph D, RN, president of the Organization of Nurse Leaders, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, and associate chief nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

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"That's been the biggest point of controversy," he says.In 2004, California enacted a nurse-to-patient ratio law.To this day, California is the only state with a nurse-to-patient ratio law.Now the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission has voted unanimously this month to approve the state's first nurse staffing mandate.It calls for no more than two patients to be assigned to a single nurse in all ICUs, including burn units and NICUs, and in some cases, just one patient per nurse.

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