- There has been an increase in the need for more registered nurses in hospitals due to the increase in the serious health issues of patients and reduction in the lengths of stay in hospitals (Welton, 2007, p. 1).
- There is a direct relationship between safety and quality of care with the size and experience of the nursing workforce in a health care facility (Welton, 2007, p. 1).
- The failure of hospitals to cope with the rising demand for nurses has led to the deterioration of some facilities (Welton, 2007, p. 1).
- This has motivated certain states to enact or consider regulatory measures that would ensure that hospitals have adequate staffing of nurses (Welton, 2007, p. 1).
- The measures ensure that there is a minimum level of staffing in hospitals that can guarantee that the health care needs of patients are satisfied despite the type and severity of the patients’ health needs (Welton, 2007, p. 1).
- In 2004, California became the first state in the U.S. to pass legislation on minimum nurse-patient ratios in acute care hospitals. The other states had since followed the move and passed similar legislations (Aiken et al., 2010, p. 904).
- Research has shown that there is a relationship between nurse staffing ratios and better patient outcomes (Aiken et al., 2010, p. 905).
- Nurse staffing in California has significantly increased due to the legislation. Increase in nurse staffing ratios in California led to significant improvement in patient outcomes (Aiken et al., 2010, p. 905).
- Therefore, it is vital to implement this model throughout the U.S. as it would lead to the significant improvement in the quality of health for all Americans (Welton, 2007, p. 1).
- It would help in meeting the difference between supply and demand of nurses in the U.S. health care industry (Welton, 2007, p. 1).
My Strategies to Influence Votes
Nursing practice in the contemporary world faces various problems. Since nurses are health care professionals that are mainly affected by the problem, it is vital for them to engage in advocacy efforts to tackle these eminent challenges. Health advocacy would help in promoting access to health care in the community. Nurses are usually the first responders to patients in health care facilities. They help in stabilizing the condition of patients before they receive help from the other medical professionals (Garber, Gross, & Slonim, 2010, p. 422). Therefore, they are privy to the problems that the patients face. Moreover, nurses play a significant role in the implementation of policies, laws, and regulations in the health care system. Their input helps in solving the problems more efficiently, since they have firsthand experience with the problems facing the health care industry (Allbee, Marcucci, & Garber, 2012, p. 673).
Thus, it is vital for me to ensure that I engage in activities that would help in tackling the problems that nurses face on daily basis while undertaking their professional duties. The lack of adequate staffing, which leads to higher workloads of nurses, is one of the major problems that nurses face. Passing legislation on mandatory nurse-patient ratio would help in solving this problem. Therefore, it is vital for me to engage in activities that would influence voting in support for passing the legislation both at the local and state level.
To influence voting at the local level, I would write a letter or email to my local legislator. The letter would detail the advantages and disadvantages of passing the legislation. I would focus on the benefits of passing the legislation in order to influence the legislator to support the passing of the legislation. If the letter does not yield the desired results, I would call the legislators and arrange to meet with them personally. Meeting with the legislators face-to-face would improve my chances of influencing them as it would provide me with an opportunity to articulate my reasons more clearly.
Volunteering to testify in public gatherings would also help in influencing voting on the legislation at the local level. My speech would detail the benefits of passing the legislation. I would detail the problems I face as a nurse due to the lack of adequate staffing. Proving personal experience would have a positive impact on the audience. It would encourage them to support the legislation.
The media plays a critical role in influencing public opinion (Mason, Leavitt, & Gardner, 2015, p. 135). Therefore, it is vital for me to involve the media to influence the voting of the legislation at the local and state level. At the local level, I would involve popular local media, whereas at the state level, I would involve large television networks that are popular throughout the state. I would seek interviews with the television stations to highlight some of the issues that nurses face and why passing legislation on mandatory nurse-patient ratio would help in tackling the issues. I would ensure that the interviews are conducted in shows that are popular among people at the local and state level.
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I would also strive to influence voting at the state level although it would be more difficult. It would necessitate me engaging in a concerted effort with the other interested parties. Joining a professional nursing organization that supports the passing of the legislation is one of the major strategies that would help in influencing voting at the state level. The professional nursing organization would provide me with additional resources that would help in meeting my goals. Moreover, professional nursing organizations can strategize better. This would be critical to attaining my goals. Professional nursing organizations may engage in campaigns to influence people to support the legislation by putting paid adverts in local and state advertising channels. They may also support candidates who favor the passing of the legislation on a mandatory nurse-staff ratio. Professional nursing organizations have political action committees (PACs) that would enable them achieve these goals easily.