Wages Jumped After California Nurse-to-Patient Ratios Kicked In
After nurse staffing rules for California hospitals took effect in 2004, wages for registered nurses working in California cities increased by more than wages for nurses in states without similar regulations, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs.
The authors looked at data from four surveys to assess changes in nurse wages nationally and in California.
The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded the study.
Researchers recognized that there are different explanations for their findings but nonetheless asserted that their findings raised questions about policymakers' assumptions that the ratios would not drive up nurse wages in the short-term.Â
Moreover, the authors wrote that questions remain about whether health care quality improved as a result of the regulations.
Advice to Other States
The authors recommended that officials in states considering nurse staffing legislation also consider local factors, such as:
- Other employment opportunities for RNs; and
- Demographic characteristics of the nursing work force (Mark et al., Health Affairs, 2/10).