Opinion Pieces Spar Over Nurse-to-Patient Ratios
In 1999, California enacted a law mandating specific numbers of nurses in various hospital departments, and the law "is likely the most significant patient safety reform in state history" because it "reduces patient deaths and assures nurses more time to spend with patients," according to Geri Jenkins, a San Diego-based registered nurse and past co-president of the California Nurses Association. However, John Graham -- director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute -- and Robert Hertzka -- former president of the California Medical Association -- write, "Such laws move responsibility for safe hospital staffing away from communities and local governments in favor of distant bureaucracies," adding that the California law "has resulted in cases of reduced patient care."
- "Hospital Claims Aside, Ratios Save Lives" (Jenkins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/22).
- "Ratios Condemn Patients to Inferior Care" (Graham/Hertzka, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/22).