Debate intensifies over nurse-to-patient ratios

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Many hospitals are looking for ways to keep nurses aside from adhering to nurse-to-patient ratios, a news report finds.

More and more states are considering legislation that sets minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, according to the Wall Street Journal. Setting a ratio is a way for hospitals, which are struggling with nurse shortages, to help ensure patient safety and stop nurses from burning out, ratio proponents say. Nursing homes also are facing the debate over nurse-to-patient ratios.

But critics say that the ratios are not flexible enough to allow hospitals to operate safely and efficiently. They also say there is no direct evidence that staffing ratios improve patient care. Some hospitals are looking toward computer programs and models to help them analyze their staffing needs and allocate nurses on staff more efficiently, the Journal reported.
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