The essay Nurses Deserve Better. So Do Their Patients is right to note the “awesome” impact that nurses have within our health care system and in the battle against Covid-19. The author sadly misses the point in her assessment of legislation on patient-to-nurse staffing ratios. While we can all agree that staffing is a critical component of good care, mandated nurse staffing ratios removes needed flexibility from nurses for the care they provide. Ratios are a static and ineffective tool that cannot guarantee a safe heath care environment. Care is team based and a lack of flexibility to provide staffing based on the acuity of individual patient needs jeopardized safe patient care. To truly commit to patient safety – always the number one priority - nurses; not legislators need to be empowered with flexibility to determine appropriate staffing for the needs of their patients.
Mary Ann Fuchs, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is president of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.